It starts in a suburban backyard with Darren Keefe and his older brother, sons of a fierce and gutsy single mother. The endless glow of summer, the bottomless fury of contest. All the love and hatred in two small bodies poured into the rules of a made-up game.
Darren has two big talents: cricket and trouble. No surprise that he becomes an Australian sporting star of the bad-boy variety—one of those men who’s always got away with things and just keeps getting.
Until the day we meet him, middle aged, in the boot of a car. Gagged, cable-tied, a bullet in his knee. Everything pointing towards a shallow grave.
The Rules of Backyard Cricket is a novel of suspense in the tradition of Peter Temple’s Truth. With glorious writing harnessed to a gripping narrative, it observes celebrity, masculinity—humanity—with clear-eyed lyricism and exhilarating narrative drive.
Jock Serong lives and works on the far southwest coast of Victoria. Formerly a lawyer, he is now a features writer, and was the editor of Great Ocean Quarterly. His first novel, Quota, won the 2015 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Crime Novel. His most recent novel is The Rules of Backyard Cricket. Jock is married with four children and lives in Port Fairy, Victoria.
‘Readers who have fallen in love with Australian mysteries, thrillers and crime novels have a whole world to discover with fantastic authors bringing the southern hemisphere to life…As in the UK, cricket is a national passion in Australia and Jock Serong delves into the murky world of professional sportsmen in his crime novel, The Rules of Backyard Cricket.’ Jane Harper, Daily Mail
‘The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong, while classified as ‘crime’, is a compelling literary novel dissecting toxic sporting culture and its fallout.’ Paddy O’Reilly, Australian Book Review, 2016 Books of the Year
‘The Rules of Backyard Cricket got the thumbs up from everyone.’ Favourite Fiction for 2016, Avenue Bookstore
‘My favourite reading experience of the year (and I don’t even like cricket).’ Heather Taylor Johnson, Sydney Morning Herald’s Year in Reading
‘Blow me down if I didn’t hang on every word.’ Clare Wright, Best Books of 2016, Australian
‘One of the great novels written about sport…Delicious. It’s the top read of the summer.’ Stuff NZ
‘A deeply interesting novel about sibling rivalry, family, masculinity, and the game of cricket…Serong is a talented storyteller, and he brings this unusual world to life.’ Booklist
‘Merges my childhood dreamscape of hot days and sporting ambition with a page-turning thriller set within the rot of professional sport. Beautifully Melbourne. Get on it!’ Tony Wilson