Roger Weston





Reviews for “The Backgammon Syndrome”

Thriller drips with suspense

"The Backgammon Syndrome"
National Pacific Press.
Reviewed by Graeme Cass, Hawkes Bay Today.

This excellent first novel by an Auckland boy has all the ingredients of a first-class thriller. It is a tale in which the main players seem bewildered about the direction in which they have been led. Written in the style of le Carre in which the bad guys know what the good guys are doing and each follows the other around for some deep purpose. Jocasta and Cameron are caught up in a maelstrom of deceit, drugs, security, intelligence and murder. Mysterious cloak and dagger chaps are skulking around every corner hiding bugs, leaving messages and taking photos. Everybody has a different agenda and nobody trusts anyone else. Drugs are planted to press gang the innocent, murder is committed and made to look like an overdose - you know the stuff. The reader will not be disappointed with the devious intrigue and tension of the story.

Weston's novel sets a brisk pace
The Backgamnon Syndrome
Reviewed by David Day, Wanganui Chronicle

MYSTERY on mystery. What an intriguing read this has been. Roger Weston's novel is, I hope, the first of many as he sharpens his skills into the genre of psychological thrillers. He weaves into the New Zealand-based tale a sometimes bewildering, quirk change series of events.
Starting with their teenage seaside crush, Cameron and Jocasta are then separated until, decades later, their paths cross in that intriguing world of NZ SSIS (Special Security Intelligence Bureau), The SSIS is dosing in on a massive, sophisticated and brutal drug syndicate.
Throughout the tale Weston keeps up the pacey action, introducing a strange mixture of personalities-people who often turn out to be other than they seem. Then come various meetings and relationships in places in New Zealand where the action takes place. The locations were cities, towns, and ports, many of which I know personally and recognised (Wellesley College and Day's Bay for Instance). Eventually, following several sinister assassinations and the occasional sexual interlude, the once teenage lovers adopt significant disguises and total name and personal history changes for their task. They meet again down Southland way, and find the whole anti-drug traffic exercise rushing to a mad, bloody and surprising conclusion. Aerial sea drops, helicopter and trawler pick-ups with fish "catch" cover (literally) concealing the huge amounts of killer white powder. It all contributes to a nail-biting climax but, Roger, please less secrecy about place names. And could we perhaps have the occasional happy ending. I can easily envisage a fine movie plot, with leads such as the brooding Tim Balm and the evil drug baron, Ian Mune.

Coastal Intrigue
"The Backgammon Syndrome"
Excerpts from a Review by Mary Cee, Wairarapa Times

I Have never joined in the game of backgammon, my interest in parlour games being in those less challenging, and the description as given in this book does nothing to engage my enthusiasm. "The dice rolled, the pieces moved, the players thought and played their strategies. With each roll of the dice the game changed, evolved, and each player tried for the upper hand to gain control and to punish the other for their mistakes." Roger Weston has made the game the design for this, his first book, which has been given the settings of isolated coastal settlements. The two main characters, Cameron and Jocasta, meet as teenagers - Cameron the son of a narrow-minded obsessive family, and Jocasta, daughter of a wealthy business man whose interests may not always be legitimate. They are separated and do not meet for some years by which time both are unwittingly involved in a web of security intelligence, drug-trafficking and murder. The book stretched my credulity, but maybe the author has inside information. He certainly must have something to come up with deep-sea trawlers, night-flying planes and helicopters, disused warehouses, deserted wharves and fishing shacks, unfrequented country hotels - all in one way or another in highly suspect operations. Those readers who can find their way through the maze will no doubt enjoy the pursuit and look forward to more as the final paragraph promises.

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