I am delighted to welcome you to read my thoughts as I help to kick off the Blog Tour for Boxer Boys Collection by Nick Rippington. My huge thanks to Nick for sending me the 3 e-book set and to Sarah Hardy at BOTBSPublicity for the invite onto the Blog Tour. This collection is a series of 3 books and I will try by best to give you a mini review for each book…
But first how about I let you know what the Boxer Boys Collection is all about…
Some Family feuds just won’t go away… For 40 years the Dolans and the Marshalls have lived side by side on the same rundown housing estate in east London. While teens Gary Marshall and Arnie Dolan forge a close friendship, fighting constant battles to survive both on the streets and closer to home, the relationship between their parents is complicated and, at times, toxic. Gradually family secrets emerge which have their roots in the early 80s… and Gary and Arnie realise their entire upbringing was built on lies.
So first up is Crossing the White…
Gary Marshall is being bullied on the rundown London estate he lives on, local lad Arnie (Arnold) Dolan steps in and saves Gary from a beating. This is the start of a friendship that see’s the boys through their teens and is the start of the Boxer Boys.
It is a story of family, friendship, changing from kids into adults and watching each others backs. Over the course of the story it becomes apparent that Gary is drawn into the murkier side than he really wants to. Things go awry for Gary and his chances at living his dream in a career he is passionate about, instead he takes different route.
This is a gritty read that deals with teens in the sprawling and gang ruled estates of London. There are various things that have been dealt with and it adds to the authentic feel of the story.
A great first book in the collection and it made me want to know exactly what was going to happen next. So much so that I went straight onto the 2nd in the set.
This is a book that goes back to the era of Gary and Arnies parents, mainly the Dolans, but the Marshall’s do have a part to play. The Dolan family is made up of Big Mo & Beryl and, Chuck their eldest, it is also about Clive, Big Mo’s brother.
This has a different feel to it and it was nice to get to know more about the family of the boys I had met in the first book. Big Mo is, well tough to say the least. He has a fiery temper and is the sort that hits first and then asks questions later and he is the leader of a shady small group of friends. The Dolan’s have a reputation not to be messed with.
Clive and Mo are very different in what they want out of their lives. Mo is about power, reputation and money. Clive is about wanting more from his life and this is why he joins the Scots Guards. This is the time of Maggie Thatcher in the 80’s and the Falklands conflict. Nobody thought that would come to anything and so off Clive goes. History tells us that this was something and Clive is not the same person he was when he left.
This is a more emotional read as well as having more violence. It gives a great insight into the families, their priorities and loyalty. It’s all about the family and who they are.
Once again as soon as I had finished this one I was straight onto the next…
Back again with Gary and Arnie, or should I say Gareth and Arnie. The previous books were extensive in their groundwork and this is brought to a fabulous conclusion in Dying Seconds. It is 2016 and while Garth is dealing with a job in Wales, Rugby and Football matches, Arnie is having to come to terms with his new lifestyle.
He has had his role in the Boxer Boys changed and the families are fracturing with tension and suspicions are running at an all time high.
There is a lot for the two men to deal with and their responsibilities and loyalties have changed. Gareth’s past is brought up to date and he can finally deal with things that have been hanging over him for the past few years.
This is a tense 3rd book and it is where all the threads are finally pulled together and things slot into their proper places. It is a story full of doubt, suspicion and fear and it is full of pace.
OVERALL – this has been a great series and I really do apologise for being so vague, but I was aware that if I wasn’t careful then spoilers would slip out.
The three stories combine to give a fabulous insight in two main families and the trials and tribulations that go with them. There are so many things that happen along the way for not only the families but also the boys as well.
The style of the story is gritty and it fits so well with the gangland setting. As much as there is violence with the story as you would expect, there is also much more than that. It is a story that show the dynamics of family and society of the respective times the stories are set in. It is about loyalty and friendship and how long they can be stretched before something gives.
This has been a really good collection of 3 stories that are intertwined and linked and that span the years. They each have a connection to each other and yet at the same time each have a different feel in the way they read. After reading Nick’s Bio I can see that he brings his own knowledge and experiences to his writing. This is a collection that I thoroughly enjoyed each one of the books and I would suggest that they are definitely read in order, you could argue that they could be read as stand alone books but for me they worked perfectly as they were set out.
It is one of those collections that falls into several categories. I add my own tags and the ones I have chosen for this is, Urban Fiction, Family Drama, Family & Lifestyle and Contemporary Fiction as well as General Fiction. I think it is one would interest many readers.
A fabulous collection and one I would Definitely Recommend.
NICK RIPPINGTON is one of the victims of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal you never hear about.
As the newspaper’s Welsh Sports Editor, he was made redundant with two days notice when Rupert Murdoch closed down Europe’s biggest-selling tabloid in 2011.
On holiday at the time, Nick was never allowed back into the building, investigators sealed off the area with crime scene tape and seized his computer, which contained all the secrets to his Fantasy Football selections.
Handed the contents of his desk in a black bin bag in a murky car park, deep throat style, Nick was at a crossroads – married just two years earlier and with a wife and 9-month-old baby to support. Options were limited but self-publishing was booming. Having hit on an idea for a UK gangland thriller taking place against the backdrop of the Rugby World Cup, in 2015 he produced Crossing The Whitewash.
The book was praised by many, received an honourable mention in the genre category of the Writers’ Digest self-published eBook awards and more than 25 five-star reviews on both sides of the pond.
Almost two years after Crossing The Whitewash came the second in the Boxer Boys series, a prequel called Spark Out, which was released in paperback on July 1 and for Kindle on July 10, 2017. The book received an award for best cover of 2017 with the Chill With A Book website, along with a readers award, before receiving the IndieBRAG medallion from a prestigious site covering Independent writers and publishers throughout the world.
The third book in the Boxer Boys series Dying Seconds, a sequel to Crossing the Whitewash, was released in December 2018.
Married to Liz, Nick is now a full-time back bench designer on the Daily Star sports desk and has two daughters – Jemma, 36, and Olivia, 8. A Bristolian at heart, he lives near Ilford, Essex. In the past he has worked for the Sunday Mirror, Wales on Sunday and Media Wales in Cardiff as an executive editor.
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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share is always appreciated 🙂 xx