Book Review: Jarrod Black – Guilty Party: Another Unashamed Football Novel by Texi Smith

This is the third book from Texi Smith featuring his character, Jarrod Black, following on from Introducing Jarrod Black (book one) and Jarrod Black – Hospital Pass (book two). Guilty Party picks up after the finish of the season which had been concluded at the end of the second book and immediately explodes into life in a fast-paced opening which sets the scene for the third instalment of the Australian international player, continuing to ply his domestic trade in the north-east of England.

Stylistically it is a return to the short sharp chapters of Introducing Jarrod Black, which keeps the reader engaged as the scenes move on in quick-fire fashion, which has overtones of a televisual style. Smith continues to display once again his knowledge of the game and mixes fact and fiction to create an authenticity around how clubs function and the characters within it.

There is a change though in the plotline, as Guilty Party is something of a whodunnit, which Smith skilfully and believably handles, and as in the previous books, there is a Roy of the Rovers feel about this latest adventure, with the feel-good factor retained around the central character. Indeed, as a reader, the authors pride and love of his home city Newcastle and its team, is evident through his portrayal of Black.

As with Hospital Pass, there is a double-meaning in the title of Guilty Party, which will become evident to readers. To say anything more about it, would be to spoil the plot!

Have Texi Smith and Jarrod Black got another winner here? Absolutely. It’s a read that will hook you in and be difficult to put down.


(Popcorn Press. May 2020. Paperback 306pp)



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Posted July 17, 2020 by Editor in category "Reviews


  1. By Jules Ruddick on

    Pleased to confirm that the eagerly-anticipated third book in the Jarrod Black series delivers handsomely on all fronts. Offering further insight into the beautiful game, characters old and new combine in a tale that serves up twists and turns so intriguing that Guilty Party was, for me, a read from cover to cover in one fantastic sitting. Going behind the scenes in ways, perhaps, not expected, Smith feeds the reader with an exquisite popping candy that engages, cleverly, both moments in hand and flirtatious nostalgia as this latest chapter unfolds. For those familiar with the first two books, purchasing the third is an easy decision. For those hearing of Jarrod Black for the first time, I’d highly recommend buying all three. Either way, you’re in for a treat.

  2. By JC on

    I thoroughly enjoyed the third book in the Jarrod Black series, a fast paced, enjoyable and at times humorous look at some different aspects of football through the eyes of Jarrod Black.
    Texi’s passion for football clearly comes through in these entertaining books.
    I am looking forward to the next one!!

  3. By Sue on

    Jarrod Black – full of surprises this time around. Really enjoyed this book, following Jarrod and his football career with a bit of mystery thrown in. Highly recommend this book.

  4. By Barry Tait on

    I really enjoyed the first two books in the Jarrod Black series, so was eagerly awaiting this next chapter in the story. After an exciting climax to book two (without spoiling anything, the setup from book two is fantastic) I couldn’t wait to see where the next step in the journey would lead Jarrod. Book three starts with a bang and never lets up. I was gripped from the first page and managed a rare feat of completing the book within two sittings. While being a football fan helps, it’s not a requirement. The author manages to weave in the on and off field story lines with equal passion, and as with the two predecessors, once again demonstrates an deep knowledge of the region and of course, the beautiful game. While this is definitely the pick of the three – I’d thoroughly recommend the entire Jarrod Black series to anyone. Bring on the forth installment!

  5. By Sheeks on

    Jarrod Black, Guilty Party, was an awesome read and I highly recommend it. It got me in right at the start with some fantastic party scenes and I really loved the way that Texi weaved in his central football theme with the murky underworld of sports betting. The punchy paragraphs and great story meant that the book moved along at a really fast pace and I had trouble putting it down. Hats off to Texi for a great book and I’m already looking forward to the next one!

  6. By Ronnie Revelo on

    Well, Texi Smith has done it again!

    Texi’s previous work, “Introducing Jarrod Black” and ‘Hospital Pass’ were a master piece. And in “Guilty Party”, Texi Smith has gone to a different dimension and touches up on a serious issue affecting the beautiful game of Football world-wide.

    This book is compelling, interesting, surprising and unpredictable and will keep the reader in suspense with every chapter.

    Life is great for footballer Jarrod Black. Wife and kids are healthy and enjoying life in the family’s new home, and then Jarrod finally fulfills his life-long dream of playing in the top flight of English football, albeit under unusual circumstances.

    Jarrod finds himself facing a moral dilemma, and is presented with the opportunity to help the club he supported his whole life. However, Jarrod knows that by doing so, not only would he be putting his family’s safety at risk, but also his reputation and even his own life.

    Jarrod’s new adventure takes him into unchartered waters. He takes on new challenges outside the simple, lavish life of footballers. In the story, our hero deals with a diverse group of characters that are mysterious and intimidating, successful and attractive, funny and sexy.

    “Guilty Party” is an outstanding read for anyone who is an aspiring writer or anyone who enjoys a story mixed with mystery, action and suspense. Or simply, a must read for all football lovers.

    In opinion, this is Texi Smith’s BEST work yet. The author has again managed to capture the reader’s imagination and I could not help but get involved in the story and relate to at least one of the characters – I LOVE that Varelo guy!

    I have again been left with that warm feeling of having read an amazingly captivating book, saddened to have reached the end of it but filled with the hope that a fourth book must be around the corner. It HAS to be!

    I personally encourage you to get all 3 books in the series and I promise, you will also fall in love with Australia’s favorite son Jarrod Black and learn more and more about the beautiful game.

    Again, well done, and thank you Texi Smith, another Master Piece to add to the collection!

  7. By Ali Cross on

    “Guilty Party” has been my first gateway into the life of Jarrod Black, and I will now be going back in time to see where it all began! The style, featuring lots of short chapters, like triangular passes leading to a goal, creates pace and drama. The story is modern, punchy and very plausible (apart perhaps from the magnificent success of all teams from the North East !!). An enjoyable page turner!

  8. By Mark on

    Guilty Party is the best installment of the Jarrod Black series so far. Can’t wait to see where the series leads and am looking forward to getting into the next Texi Smith book as he moves onto the world of womens football with Anna Black.


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