Friday, 13 June 2014

Review of The Big Fix by Brett Forrest

So a few weeks back, I blogged a review of Wilson Raj Perumal's 'Kelong Kings'. So it is only right I write about a book that came out just weeks later.

Firstly, let's get this out the way. The Big Fix is the best written book ever released on match-fixing and I've read them all. I even wrote one! Almost every book written previously has usually had a 'catalogue' feel to it - packing the narrative with event after event, story after story; or, in my case, I went for the fully fictionalised story though it mirrored real life. The Big Fix differs in that it follows a character (Chris Eaton) and Brett Forrest's own meetings who navigate through the world of match-fixing. We see it from the outside (looking back through recent history) and then even through the eyes of match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal. Sometimes, we are simply taken to a restaurant or an office rather than moving from fixed game to fixed game or criminal to criminal. 

I especially like how the evidence is laid bare for the reader to judge the characters. Revealing letters are published without bias. On the one hand, you have Wilson portraying himself as a Robin Hood type character but some of his actions suggest a different side. On the other, Eaton is chasing Wilson for the good of football and sport in general. The book feels like the Movie 'Heat' - Pacino vs. De Niro. And just as one makes this connection, Wilson speaks about the comparison himself. He references the scene in the cafe where the hunter and the prey meet face to face. Thrilling stuff. 

Did we learn anything new from this book? Well, firstly, this is the most up-to-date now-public behind the scenes information on match-fixing and the interpersonal relationships between the major players. Secondly, it references Wilson's future hopes and dreams. And lastly, it gives a 360 degree view of fixing (Perumal), investigation (Eaton and Sportradar) and Federations. 

I've always said there should be a movie on match-fixing. Something like Green Street meets American Gangster. This book (besides Off The Chest :) ) seems to lend itself best to the big screen. It's inevitable. I just hope, like The Sopranos, they use insiders to portray the world of match-fixing correctly.

Get your copy here.

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