Sparkling with distinctive Australian humour, this action-packed novel follows one small-town girl’s fight to reach the top.
Sharon Jackson is a small-town girl with big-city dreams. Forced out of her home in regional Western Australia with her singing career in ruins, she hits the big smoke in search of stardom. After signing with a sleazy agent who wants more than a ten percent cut of her earnings, she struggles to earn a place in the macho world of rock-‘n-roll, encountering a series of colourful characters along the way – like Todd, the sexy, brooding muso with a dragon tattoo and Kevin, the whip-smart fighter with some hidden demons of his own.
But when her troubled past follows her to the city, Shazza’s dreams begin to unravel. With no home to go back to and a past that won’t stay buried, everything she has worked for is on the line. Shazza must make a decision that will define the course of her future, and time is running out.
‘It's not often that I read books of this genre, or even anything set in Australia (which is probably funny coming from an Australian). So, the fact that I enjoyed Striking Out this much is definitely a testament to the quality of the book.
The pacing was unexpectedly relentless, but this turned out to be something that I really liked about the book; I constantly wanted to know what happened next, and the author offered up the information with no hesitation. It's easy to read, but not in a way that makes you feel like you're being talked down to. There were also quite a few truly funny moments that made me laugh out loud, which not a lot of books I've read have managed to do.
However, it is the main character, Sharon, that made this book so difficult to put down. I was on her side from the very beginning and desperately wanted things to work out well for her, which kept me turning the pages. Characterisation is where I think a lot of authors fall flat, but this is certainly not the case here; Sharon is a character to be remembered.
In short, five out of five. Highly recommended to anyone looking for a fun read.’ Louisa, Amazon Review
See All Amazon Reviews
‘Shazza arrives in the big smoke to seek her fortune as a rock musician, but finds her biggest obstacles in the men she chooses – and in herself. She is a rambunctious character who will capture your heart with her warmth and your imagination with her spunky adventures. Scarlet Bennett has given us a debut novel with a memorable voice, and a thoroughly contemporary heroine with real balls.’ Jo-Anne Richards, South African novelist and journalist whose work has been published internationally.
‘Fame and fortune for a ballsy and brassy broad; easy isn’t it? Not when you’re escaping a small town dragging a past full of demons. It might be a long way to the top, but Shazza is not afraid to grab the bull by the horns. Striking Out records the journey of a rock chick kick-starting her dream in an industry of wanna-bes, coulda-beens, never-weres and rolling with the punches to reclaim her life. A rockin’ good read.’ David Cook, Renegade.
'If you want a laugh-out-loud page turner about a feisty young woman, a singer-songwriter born on the wrong side of the tracks who defies the odds to make her mark in the big smoke, then this promising first novel by Scarlet Bennett just might hit the spot.' Mairi Nicolson, ABC Radio
‘Written with a warmth and wit, Bennett serves up a cast of characters who quickly make their presence felt. Shazza leaps from the page with a flying axe-kick, the all-singing, all-fighting tough-talking heroine who battles the world around her and her own worst tendencies with equal vigour and spunk. Musicians, in particular, will encounter some familiar faces in these pages; the dodgy agent, the peacocking front-man, the flamboyant singing coach. All are presented with flair, humour and an eye for truth that gives Bennett’s style real spark.’ Kanen Breen, Strange Bedfellows.
‘Striking Out has a combination of both feel good familiarity and scary parochialism. Bennett's characters are vividly set from the minute you meet them, at times I found myself cringing with recognition. She carefully and unrelenting wraps the drama with a humorous ribbon. I quite literally couldn't put it down. Reading Striking Outwas like bunkering down for a whole weekend to watch an HBO series in its entirety. I can't wait to see where Shazza takes us next in her continuing dramatic life. "Bring it on!" Taryn Fiebig