Book Review: Jarrod Black – Chasing Pack: A football novel by Texi Smith

This is the fourth book from Texi Smith featuring his character, Jarrod Black, following on from Introducing Jarrod Black (book one), Jarrod Black – Hospital Pass (book two) and Jarrod Black – Guilty Party (book three) as well as his book about Jarrod’s sister, Anna Black – this girl can play.


Chasing Pack finds Jarrod about to start a new season with Darlington after clinching a Play-off win and promotion to League One, with the plotline of the betting syndicate and its chief Yannick Lefevre continuing from Guilty Party. However, as with any good writer, the author provides enough snippets of background information and character introductions for a new reader to pick-up this book in isolation.

As detailed in previous reviews, Jarrod Black and his adventures on the pitch are very much in the Roy of the Rovers vein and in Chasing Pack the author adds a James Bond-esque twist as Jarrod gets the opportunity to play action hero Harlowe Croft. This takes the setting of the majority of the book back to Australia from England and the chance for Jarrod to play in his homeland.

As with the bulk of the series, the book is made up of short sharp chapters (in this case 81), providing readers with quick-fire, fast paced action, in easy to digest bursts. As ever, Smith continues to display his knowledge of the game, this time focusing on the A-League in Australia, mixing fact and fiction to create an authentic feel to the game action and the life of a club and its players.

Interestingly in this book, Jarrod appears to be a tougher and perhaps more flirty character than in previous stories, with his language seemingly more ‘industrial’, perhaps reflecting his move into the movie world and the Harlowe Croft character.

Texi Smith has a winning formula with this series of books and Chasing Pack is as accessible and an enjoyable romp as the other Jarrod Black titles. Where will the next adventure take readers?

(Publisher: Popcorn Press. December 2022. Paperback: 302 pages)


Buy the book here: Chasing Pack

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Five-a-side. Quick fire questions with Texi Smith – October 2019

Football Book Reviews (FBR) caught up with the writer of two football novels, Introducing Jarrod Black and Jarrod Black – Hospital Pass to get a bit of background on the author, Texi Smith.

1. FBR: Where does your love of football come from?

Texi Smith (TS): Despite coming from a town where there was no organised sport until under 9s, I was always surrounded by football. We played every night after school with the kids in the street, down the park or with a tennis ball in the street.

2. FBR: What team do you support?

TS: I’m a Newcastle United supporter first and foremost. After twenty years in Australia, I’m also a Sydney FC fan – it is common knowledge that Sydney is Sky Blue. That’s where I get my live football fix.

3. FBR: How did you get into writing?

TS: I was match reporter for the football team at University, then for teams I played in and coached. Additionally, I did a stint as newsletter editor for the local club here in Australia, which gave me an audience, and then made the progression to novels.

4. FBR: In your first novel, ‘Introducing Jarrod Black’, its setting is the North East of England, do you have connections to the area?

TS: Yes, I was born in Ashington (like Newcastle United legend, Jackie Milburn and the Charlton brothers, Bobby and Jack), and lived in Morpeth.

As a result, I followed the Toon around the country. All my immediate family all still live in the area, I left England when I was 18 – a reverse journey to Jarrod Black in the first book.

I get back once every couple of years, craftily timed to be when there’s a game on!

5. FBR: Both of your novels have “An Unashamed Football Novel” in the title. What’s behind that?

I guess it’s a tip of the hat to fellow novel writers who choose to write about what they love.

Also, if someone chooses to read one of these books, I don’t want them to say “…it’s just all about football.” – let’s call it a warning message before the reader makes that choice! Like the warning message on a packet of cigarettes.

For further information on Texi Smith, visit