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Spark Out: historical crime fiction with a killer twist (Boxer Boys Book 2)

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One a gangster, the other a soldier: War is about to change two brothers' lives forever... MAURICE ‘BIG MO’ DOLAN is prone to headaches and there is one main cause: his family. Eldest son Chuck, 7, needs toughening up, wife Beryl is too lenient, his career-criminal father has no respect for him and his younger brother Clive is about to join the army. There is light at the One a gangster, the other a soldier: War is about to change two brothers' lives forever... MAURICE ‘BIG MO’ DOLAN is prone to headaches and there is one main cause: his family. Eldest son Chuck, 7, needs toughening up, wife Beryl is too lenient, his career-criminal father has no respect for him and his younger brother Clive is about to join the army. There is light at the end of the tunnel, though. With Margaret Thatcher’s government backing initiative and suggesting people get ‘on their bikes’ to find work, Mo believes it is the perfect time to expand his business... into armed robbery. As he plans the ultimate raid to drag him out of the poverty trap, he believes his fortunes are bound to get better. But with the Falklands War just around the corner they are about to become a whole lot worse... A hard-boiled thriller that's not for the faint-hearted, Spark out is the second book in the Boxer Boys series, a prequel to Crossing The Whitewash


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One a gangster, the other a soldier: War is about to change two brothers' lives forever... MAURICE ‘BIG MO’ DOLAN is prone to headaches and there is one main cause: his family. Eldest son Chuck, 7, needs toughening up, wife Beryl is too lenient, his career-criminal father has no respect for him and his younger brother Clive is about to join the army. There is light at the One a gangster, the other a soldier: War is about to change two brothers' lives forever... MAURICE ‘BIG MO’ DOLAN is prone to headaches and there is one main cause: his family. Eldest son Chuck, 7, needs toughening up, wife Beryl is too lenient, his career-criminal father has no respect for him and his younger brother Clive is about to join the army. There is light at the end of the tunnel, though. With Margaret Thatcher’s government backing initiative and suggesting people get ‘on their bikes’ to find work, Mo believes it is the perfect time to expand his business... into armed robbery. As he plans the ultimate raid to drag him out of the poverty trap, he believes his fortunes are bound to get better. But with the Falklands War just around the corner they are about to become a whole lot worse... A hard-boiled thriller that's not for the faint-hearted, Spark out is the second book in the Boxer Boys series, a prequel to Crossing The Whitewash

30 review for Spark Out: historical crime fiction with a killer twist (Boxer Boys Book 2)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shalini

    Wow!! What a book!! I have to confess. I didn't like the story or the characters, neither did I connect with the setting of London in the early 1980s. BUT THE WRITING - THAT WAS BLOODY FANTASTIC!! It gripped me, it twisted me, it tore my innards asunder. It took me by my throat and made me read every word of the book. I forgot my world while reading the world created by the brilliant author Nick Rippington. This was the story about big Mo set in London on the 1980s, a hoodlum with a short spark, Wow!! What a book!! I have to confess. I didn't like the story or the characters, neither did I connect with the setting of London in the early 1980s. BUT THE WRITING - THAT WAS BLOODY FANTASTIC!! It gripped me, it twisted me, it tore my innards asunder. It took me by my throat and made me read every word of the book. I forgot my world while reading the world created by the brilliant author Nick Rippington. This was the story about big Mo set in London on the 1980s, a hoodlum with a short spark, living with his wife Beryl and sons Chuck and Sly. His brother Clive went off to fight the Falklands War, and Mo stayed back to support his family with small jobs until he moved on to armed robbery and smuggling of guns. Maurice Mo used his fists and curtain rod on pretty much everybody, family, friends, foes pretty much anyone against whom his paranoia pointed to. My first book by author Nick Rippington, I was given the entire boxed set to read which was a daunting task. So I read Book 2 on the series which worked as a standalone. The book read like a gritty three dimensional movie, an eye opener of sorts. Every character played their part in the survival of a tough life. Violence dripped off the pages in most of the chapters, and most were pretty graphic. YET... Every word told me a story, every story was convincing. When I was reading the book, I got so involved in it that while writing the review, I didn't have the words to explain that elusive but exhilarating feeling. Let me try. I felt I was standing in a room affixed, almost as if I were hypnotized, and the story revolved in a circle around me keeping me right in the middle where I couldn't leave even if I wanted to. Mo forced me to read his story even when I didn't like him. And I blame the author for it. Nick's words had the power to keep me mesmerised to the story, and that was why I could finish this book. A page turner!! Wow!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Zoe Kirkby

    Another good, honest and gritty tale. With strong characters and a plot that makes you turn the pages Nick's second story draws you in much like his first book. I enjoyed how each character developed - we saw it all. Gritty estates to the battles of war. Another solid read for me. I received an ARC (Advanced Review Copy) in return for an honest review. Another good, honest and gritty tale. With strong characters and a plot that makes you turn the pages Nick's second story draws you in much like his first book. I enjoyed how each character developed - we saw it all. Gritty estates to the battles of war. Another solid read for me. I received an ARC (Advanced Review Copy) in return for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Gallagher

    Good story Gritty and determined Nice throw back to the time Good characters Well worth reading if you like this genre

  4. 5 out of 5

    Philomena Callan Cheekypee

    This is book two in the Boxer Boys series. I highly recommend you read Crossing the Whitewash before you read this one. Another subject I don’t like reading or talking about is politics yet this author managed to keep me reading. Big Mo is a force to be reckoned with. He is a nasty crook who will do anything to get what he wants. Well told story with a good storyline

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Bentley

    The Dolans’ Are Back! It seems some time ago now that I read and reviewed Nick Rippington’s first novel in the Boxer Boys series, ‘Crossing The Whitewash.’ I enjoyed that read and this one even more. I know it’s a cliché to say ‘Spark Out’ is a “page turner” but truly, it is. That is partly to do with the even pacing of the author’s technique in that there is hardly a lull in the action or the intrigue. Rippington is one hell of a good story teller in this suspense thriller genre. One of the thing The Dolans’ Are Back! It seems some time ago now that I read and reviewed Nick Rippington’s first novel in the Boxer Boys series, ‘Crossing The Whitewash.’ I enjoyed that read and this one even more. I know it’s a cliché to say ‘Spark Out’ is a “page turner” but truly, it is. That is partly to do with the even pacing of the author’s technique in that there is hardly a lull in the action or the intrigue. Rippington is one hell of a good story teller in this suspense thriller genre. One of the things that struck me about the author’s style is he is unafraid to duck social issues such as domestic violence and bullying both of which feature in this gripping novel. Yet, he does it in a sensitive manner despite some graphic details. The book is set mostly in London and the Home Counties in the early 1980’s just before and after the Falklands War. I have to say Rippington does a great job of painting pictures with words of the full horrors of war in the context of that war when the United Kingdom sent a large task force to free the islanders from their Argentinian invaders. A war seen through the eyes of one of the key characters. This is an author in touch with ordinary working-class people, the London criminal scene existing in the early 1980’s and the accompanying gangland violence. I should know as I was a detective in this era. Rippington, despite the background of violence, writes pointedly and with great sensitivity about human relationships. Those relationships encompass spouses and their infidelities as well as the relationship between Big Mo Dolan and his gang members and his son, Chuck. He amply draws the reader in to these relationships so much so that any reader has to end up with the greatest sympathy for Beryl, Dolan’s long-suffering wife. Big Mo is the main character and he is the sociopath to end all sociopaths. I trembled with fear as to what this crazed man was going to do next. He has viciousness oozing from every pore of his body. His violent streak is truly disturbing. Rippington also deals with the side of Big Mo’s character that tries to justify his violence in attributing these words to Dolan, “I’m like fizzy pop (soda). Shake me and I explode!” The other characters in this novel are all well-developed by the author. Most of them are relatives of Big Mo. This Boxer Boys series is developing into quite some family saga. I can’t wait for the next instalment! This novel has it all – suspense, great characters, well-paced and a satisfactory ending. A cracking good read and highly recommended! I received a free Advanced Review Copy of this book in return for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cath

    This takes place in the early to mid-eighties in a rundown area of London. The main character, Big Mo, is a career criminal with two young sons and a wife. Mo has to do jobs to try and support his family, whilst also living under his father’s successful criminal lifestyle and shadow. One job with his pals bring an unexpected cache of weapons and leads him to go from small time criminal to planning an armed robbery. Maggie is the PM and loved by Mo. His younger brother, Clive, has joined the Scots This takes place in the early to mid-eighties in a rundown area of London. The main character, Big Mo, is a career criminal with two young sons and a wife. Mo has to do jobs to try and support his family, whilst also living under his father’s successful criminal lifestyle and shadow. One job with his pals bring an unexpected cache of weapons and leads him to go from small time criminal to planning an armed robbery. Maggie is the PM and loved by Mo. His younger brother, Clive, has joined the Scots Guards and is doing official guard duties around London when the Falklands War starts and he is shipped off to join the fight. All this at a time when Big Mo is losing his cool and getting more aggressive with his mate ‘Reg’. Mo is left fighting his family, the police and even his pals as he worries about Clive and whether he will survive the Falkland’s and return home. Lots of typical Cockney banter is used in the book and tales of the sort of violence that was around in the eighties especially in the home. Women were still treated as not important, the man was still the breadwinner, especially in the power parts of society. They are to look after the children, keep their mouths closed, listen to their partners and get the meals on the table at the right time. Some of the book went very slowly for me, yet others reminded me of memories of the Falklands War being announced on our TV’s and the horrific images of the injuries to soldiers. Some still suffering the effects to this day, which made parts very realistic and showed what can happen to soldiers trying to reintegrate into society when just back from the war, without any support. Parts are hard to read due to some of the violence used, but it is also a book about a period of time in London’s past, how someone can try to redeem themselves and change their behaviour to others and even guilt for your own actions that may cause damage to others. Somewhat a hard and long read for me, but it is dealing with a ‘real life’ type of storyline. I received an ARC copy of the book from Hidden Gems and I have freely given my own opinion of the book above.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jaffareadstoo

    Spark Out starts with real insight into what makes this crime fiction series so compelling. Written as it is with a fine eye for detail and a compelling turn of phrase, the author doesn't shy away from recreating a fairly bleak time in our history. A time when there was social injustice on a wide scale and where the growing discontent between the have and the have nots seemed to grow ever wider. For 'Big Mo' Dolan, taking the Thatcherite philosophy of getting on his bike to find work opens up a w Spark Out starts with real insight into what makes this crime fiction series so compelling. Written as it is with a fine eye for detail and a compelling turn of phrase, the author doesn't shy away from recreating a fairly bleak time in our history. A time when there was social injustice on a wide scale and where the growing discontent between the have and the have nots seemed to grow ever wider. For 'Big Mo' Dolan, taking the Thatcherite philosophy of getting on his bike to find work opens up a whole new meaning to the term job seekers. Wanting to do right by his family and still earn the respect he thinks is his due, means that Mo has some difficult choices ahead of him, and this forms the basis of how his life starts to unfold in the rough and violent world where only the most craftiest of individuals can hope to survive with any sign of longevity. I think that the author really gets to grips with this fierce and ferocious way of life. Always telling it like it is, there is, quite simply, no room for sentimentality in the world that Mo inhabits. Dark and gritty violence is sometimes the only language that the people in Mo’s world understand and the author brings this world to life in graphic detail. And yet, there is also a perceptive side to the story, particularly, in the way that Mo’s long suffering wife, Beryl deals with her relationship with her husband, and also the effect on Mo’s son, Chuck, who is doomed to be forever in his father’s shadow. The author has done a commendable job of bringing this destructive world to life whilst still maintaining the notion that the idea of family rises above everything else. Dark and gritty, Spark Out continues this gangster series with characteristic style.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elouise

    Spark Out is a thrilling, action filled book where I learned a lot about what it was like to be involved in the crime world of the 1980's in the poorer parts of London, England. And it is really quite fearsome. Big Mo, or Maurice , and his father, Billie, were involved in the crime under-culture of the tenement buildings in that area of London where they lived. The tenements were referred to as the boxes, so the people who lived there were the boxers. It was a pretty rough area and hard for peop Spark Out is a thrilling, action filled book where I learned a lot about what it was like to be involved in the crime world of the 1980's in the poorer parts of London, England. And it is really quite fearsome. Big Mo, or Maurice , and his father, Billie, were involved in the crime under-culture of the tenement buildings in that area of London where they lived. The tenements were referred to as the boxes, so the people who lived there were the boxers. It was a pretty rough area and hard for people who lived there to make ends meet. It was a hand to mouth existence with a lot of rough patches too. This story is about the toughening up of Big Mo's older son; he had 2, a 3 year old and a 7 year old at the beginning of the story. The 7 year old was being bullied at school , so Mo took him down to the local gym and enrolled him in boxing lessons. This was at the time of the Falklands war that Britain fought against Argentina and Mo's younger brother Clive went to fight there. The action in this story just doesn't stop ever. One thing always leads to another and Mo's short fuse causes him to spark out frequently. Excellent study of the sub culture. I especially found the ending hard to put down when there is a police confrontation with Mo and his friends, and Clive's PTSD is severe enough to get him killed. How the youngster dealt with all this is very enlightening. I loved this book. Can't wait to get the next one in the series. WOW.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Gitt

    Book Review: Spark Out: A hard-boiled suspense thriller by Nick Rippington A testosterone driven family of men, cycling anger from one generation to the next and the casualties to both family members and friends. Set in the outskirts of London, this well-crafted family drama centers on Big Mo Dolan, his wife, Beryl, and sons - 8-year old Chucky and 4-year old Sly. Raised by a rough and tumble father, Billy ‘the kid’ Dolan, who has moved up in the world from the lower levels of crime and now has p Book Review: Spark Out: A hard-boiled suspense thriller by Nick Rippington A testosterone driven family of men, cycling anger from one generation to the next and the casualties to both family members and friends. Set in the outskirts of London, this well-crafted family drama centers on Big Mo Dolan, his wife, Beryl, and sons - 8-year old Chucky and 4-year old Sly. Raised by a rough and tumble father, Billy ‘the kid’ Dolan, who has moved up in the world from the lower levels of crime and now has pretensions of civility, his eldest son, Mo, tries everything he can to not only provide for his own family, but gain the respect of his father. In this clearly drawn society of stay at home wife, Beryl is kept ignorant of her husband’s business dealings and when she suddenly learns of her husband’s infidelity she begins to question her life. As Chucky watches his father sink into increasingly violent behavior, the 8-year old tries to find his own balance between violence and fitting in. A complex tale brought to life with the skill of a trained observer, “Spark Out” will have you captured on each page-turning twist in the life of this complex family. Title: Crime and family in the outskirts of London https://www.amazon.co.uk/Spark-Out-2-...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne

    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 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…

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alex Jones

    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. H 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 5🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

  12. 5 out of 5

    ChillwithabookAWARD With

    Spark Out by Nick Rippington has received a Chill with a Book Readers' Award. www.chillwithabook.com "Very well written, really enjoyed the book." "A compelling read." "Spark Out turns into a page turner with an unexpected twist at the end." Pauline Barclay Founder of Chill with a Book Awards Spark Out by Nick Rippington has received a Chill with a Book Readers' Award. www.chillwithabook.com "Very well written, really enjoyed the book." "A compelling read." "Spark Out turns into a page turner with an unexpected twist at the end." Pauline Barclay Founder of Chill with a Book Awards

  13. 4 out of 5

    gj indieBRAG

    We are proud to announce that SPARK OUT by Nick Rippington is a B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree. This tells readers that this book is well worth their time and money!

  14. 4 out of 5

    mrs moira hall

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Fennelly

  16. 4 out of 5

    p johnson

  17. 4 out of 5

    stephen tagg

  18. 4 out of 5

    patricia hopkins

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maxine

  20. 5 out of 5

    Frank Cameron

  21. 5 out of 5

    heila brown

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christine Saul

  23. 4 out of 5

    Horace Mitchell

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mrs S Jardine

  25. 4 out of 5

    James Cook

  26. 5 out of 5

    Piet Besseling

  27. 5 out of 5

    Netta Smith

  28. 4 out of 5

    Richard Maclean

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mr Alan

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mrs Diana M Gruber

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