Best Book Publishers UK | Austin Macauley Publishers

By: Joe Bocker


Pages: 536 Ratings: 4.6
Book Format: Choose an option

*Available directly from our distributors, click the Available On tab below

Gordon is drifting alone in the bustling city of Auckland; grieving and lacking motivation, he receives a mysterious phone call from an elderly aunt asking him to come and visit. Reluctantly, but with no better plan, he agrees and travels to Ngawai, a dying little town on the west coast of the North Island. What he discovers there both horrifies and re-energises him: a white outsider coaching soccer in a mainly Māori town. He is immediately thrust into conflict with Tane, the embittered coach of the rugby league club. Entangled in a web of grief, love, sex and anger, his passion is re-ignited and through this, he finds the strength to battle prejudice and corruption, and ultimately, rediscovers hope.

Joe Bocker was born in Edinburgh in Scotland in 1955. A science graduate of St Andrew’s University in Scotland, he taught science for 14 years in secondary schools in Edinburgh before emigrating to New Zealand with his young family in 1994.

Married with three daughters, he taught in New Zealand before setting up a Kindergarten. After his daughters left for university, Joe turned part of the home into a guest house and enjoyed sharing his love of New Zealand with guests from all over the world. Meg, his wife, is a GP, and together they decided on a change of lifestyle and took to travelling around, taking up short-term locum positions.

This change of life allowed Joe to experiment with writing. Scars is his second full-length novel. Earwig, his first, has proved to be very popular, as have his two shorter humorous books, The iWedding and The Bloomin’ Club.

Customer Reviews
10 reviews
10 reviews
  • Kate

    Brilliant book! You are drawn into the story and the characters, as if you are in the village with them. The author explores complex issues of racism and poverty without using cliches. There’s a depth to even the most unlikable characters that makes you pause and consider how people’s lives can influence their behaviors.
    I don’t want to give away the ending but suffice to say, it plays on every emotion.
    Not only is this a wonderful read, it does something that makes a book great - it continues to stay in your mind long after you finish reading. In this case, I found myself looking at people and wondering what life had thrown at them that changed their behavior.
    Looking forward to reading more by this author!

  • John

    'I just finished reading Scars. I must say I really enjoyed it. It's not the usual type of book I would
    choose but I found myself looking forward to picking up where I left off and finished it in a long
    spell today. Look forward to the next one from Joe'

  • Mike Duston

    This a great immersive tale about the journey to overcome personal loss set in a small town undergoing its own social struggles. The story is long but it keeps you enthralled through the author's excellent descriptions of the characters and the settings. You root for both the protagonist and the townspeople to prevail and succeed together. Am eagerly awaiting the next book from this author.

  • Karangahape

    A very engaging read with a number of surprising turns. The themes of grief and reclaiming of hope are explored in a way that rings true from rural New Zealand to the world. A promising debut novel. Will be keeping an eye out for future work from this Author.

  • Emma Fuchs

    Scars was an enjoyable read from start to finish. I quickly found myself invested in Gordon's life and the 'dying' little town where the novel is based. The characters and locations were relatable and I enjoyed seeing their development throughout the book.

  • Ann Barras

    Couldn’t put this book down!
    The characters engage you immediately into their day to day lives and hopes for the future. Highlighting the high and lows as they meet the challenges of seeking a better future for themselves and their community.
    A real insight into life and the culture of New Zealand.
    I look forward to the next novel from this exciting new author who brings his life experiences to share with the reader.

  • Norm

    A topical novel which tackles complex issues. The author deals with the impact of abuse within the Catholic Church, the past treatment of unmarried mothers, the impact of unemployment and poor prospects in a Maori community in New Zealand and the belief that sport can have a transformative influence on the lives of young people. A positive and uplifting piece of writing with cinematographic qualities which has at its heart the developing love relationship between a Scottish immigrant and a Maori nurse, both of whom have suffered sadness and tragedy in their lives. Well worth a read from a writer who is beginning to realise significant potential and could soon become an important author on the New Zealand literary scene. It is from a text like this, indigenous and not looking back to Europe for its literary compass points, that a canon of work begins to emerge reflecting how a society understands its own culture and its own place in the world. There is no doubt, also, that the scope of the novel would be well-represented in the medium of film. Excellent and full of insight.

  • Sue collett

    Excellent read. Truely captured the essence of small town be Zealand along with a great story that kept you turning the pages. Hard to put down. Well worth a read.

Write a Review
Your post will be reviewed and published soon. Multiple reviews on one book from the same IP address will be deleted.

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience and for marketing purposes.
By clicking any link on this page you are giving your consent for us to set cookies