Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong

rules-backyard-cricketDon’t be deceived by the title…this is not a guide to playing cricket.

To quote Serong (from an interview with crime writer Sandi Wallace)“It’s a story told in the first person by a guy locked in a car boot, and headed for his own execution.”

From the first passage on the first page, I was drawn into this narrative as into no other. I love a good crime story, yet the structure of this is unusual for the genre. It is a fictional biography of Darren Keefe as he relates his cricket playing years with Walter, who rises to the top. It’s the tale of him becoming embroiled in a match-fixing scandal as he follows his more talented elder brother through the ranks to national representative level.

Entertaining, and a fascinating insight into the workings of the manipulation of players for match-fixing or side gambling. Darren’s fall from grace after a match accident (look for Squiggly) is secondary to his seeming naïvety when choosing friends and what he tells. But he’s content to see Walter rise through the player ranks, remembering how everything they each know about playing they learned together playing in their childhood back yard.

Then, things go seriously wrong, and the finale is awesomely disturbing. I mean, seriously unsettling, disturbing, uncomfortable, and not for the queasy. I loved it.

Published 2016 by


Australian Paperback (288 pages): 9781925355215
UK Paperback: 9781911231035
eBook: 9781922253798

In NZ, sold at any Booksellers NZ retailer


Serong’s first novel, Quota, published 2014 by Text Publishing Co., 2014, (earning the Ned Kelly Award), drew on his career as a criminal barrister. He’s since written a screenplay The Ship Thieves, and is now working on his third novel with a working title Lassitude.