DEBUT NOVEL: Former Warwick resident Tony Brickley has published his first novel The Playground Hunter. It hit the shelves two weeks ago.
DEBUT NOVEL: Former Warwick resident Tony Brickley has published his first novel The Playground Hunter. It hit the shelves two weeks ago.

Man goes from McEvoy St corner store to sex crime novelist

A FORMER Warwick resident used his experience living in a small town haunted by a paedophile as inspiration for his first novel.

Before Tony Brickley moved to Warwick and ran the McEvoy St corner store, he lived in Laverton, on the outskirts of Melbourne. As a child he was aware of a teacher who assaulted four students.

Though his novel The Playground Hunter draws inspiration from the alleged assaults, it is more about how the community responded to the crimes.

"It happened in an area I was living in, it happened to kids I went to school with,” he said.

"When it finally did come out, it was hard to keep it covered up, it was a small place and everyone knew everyone's business.”

The novel weaves in references to the turbulent politics and culture wars of the 1960s.

"The story itself is not a bad yarn but, when you start weaving in the things that happened in the period, it becomes more interesting,” said.

"Australia switched to dollars from pounds, we were a year away from landing a man on the moon, we lost a PM in the ocean, and the Kennedys and DrMartin Luther King were assassinated.”

It took more than decade to publish the book.

"I started doing the research in about 2004, the writing took a couple of years and then I had to send it off to have it assessed,” he said.

Initially it was hard going: As an unproven author MrBrickley said publishers didn't want to take the risk and print his book.

"The literary agents didn't want to talk me, I have a shoe box full of the nicest rejection letters you'll read.”

It was worth the effort. The Playground Hunter hit the shelves about two weeks ago and the author has another book about to be published.

"The next book is something completely different,” he said.

"It's a fairly in-depth and critical look at the car dealership titled Well Dressed Sharks.

"I've worked in car finance and sales industry for a few decades, the book will open the lid on the car trade. It's a bit more comical and eye-opening.”



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