Boxer Boys Collection by Nick Rippington #BlogTour

September 6, 2019

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.


Thanks to Sarah at Book on the Brightside Tours and Nick Rippington for me e-book copies of his Boxer Boys Collection.

Beginning with Crossing the Whitewash, it’s 1996 and we are introduced to the Dolan and Marshall families who live on a neglected, hard, London estate

Gary Marshall is a young lad with dreams of playing for West Ham, and Arnie Dolan, a tough, uncompromising lad, who dreams of being a gangland kingpin. Fate brings the 2 together, then forming the basis of ‘the boxer boys’.

After a life changing event, that ends Gary’s dreams, he moves away from Arnie, his best friend and the gang and from London. He heads to Cardiff, changing his name to Gareth Prince, he takes up a position at a Welsh Newspaper as the Rugby reporter.

Years later , Gary and Arnie’s path cross again..

Without giving too much away, as the events of this book are picked up again in book 3, a story of washed up sports stars, of love, of friendship, it’s at times a violent, gritty gangland tale, but the violence fits this story and needs to be there.. we also meet ‘the legend’ that is J.W Owens!


Spark Out takes us back to Gangland London of the 80’s and also brings the Falkland war into the story, focusing on Arnie Dolan’s gangster father, ‘Big Mo’ Dolan and his ‘friend’ Reg.

This book really fleshed out the how and why, The Dolan boys are the men they are, brought up by their vicious father Mo.

Detailing Big Mo’s struggles to break away from his own fathers rule, trying to support his family while going from small time crook to big time hoodlum. A warehouse break in provides Big Mo, with the means to attempt a big time heist.

More Violence , Armed Robbery, and a brutal protagonist, I enjoyed this one almost as much as the first.




The final piece of the trilogy, Dying Seconds,  It’s now 2016, and Gareth and Arnie return , both with very differing lives, Arnie is now confined to a wheelchair, and Gareth, after a promotion, is settled down and looking forward to reporting on Euro 2016 and the participation of the Welsh national team.

When tragedy hits, a brutal murder,  that affects both men’s lives, the pair are forced to collide and call an uneasy truce as they form an uneasy alliance to find the killer.

Filling out more of the other characters back stories, this final book, ties up all the threads, with some cracking twists and turns, this is another fantastic slice of gritty, hardcore storytelling.

A powerful, emotional finale, that I loved, closes this trilogy in great fashion.


In summary, these 3 tales, are an urban, gritty mix, families, gangs, violence, guns, rugby, football, love stories, murders, friendships and betrayals. Paced so well, I read all 3 books , around about 1200 pages, back to back in around 10 days or so, addictive, funny, touching , brilliant stories.

Highly Recommended



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.



Twitter: @nickripp

Goodreads Author Page:

Blog: On the website – Say Hello to My Little Friends


Amazon Author Page in the UK:



  • Sarah Hardy September 6, 2019 at 8:48 am

    Thanks so much for being on the blog tour today Alex x

  • Nick Rippington September 6, 2019 at 9:33 am

    Thanks for the wonderful reviews, Alex. Glad you liked the books and the fact you read them in 10 days is pure dedication – even I would struggle to manage that. I can understand how tricky it must be to write reviews of this Collection without giving away any spoilers. On an interesting note, Crossing The Whitewash is also available on Audible and I think my narrator really brings it to life… if you have a free credit some time you might enjoy!

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