by Nick Rippington
Think Arnie Dolan was trouble? Now meet the old man…
MAURICE ‘BIG MO’ DOLAN is prone to headaches and there is one main cause: his family. He believes eldest son Chuck, 7, needs toughening up, his wife Beryl is too lenient, his career-criminal father has no respect for him and he is about to lose his younger brother Clive to 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 for him 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 suspense thriller that’s not for the faint hearted.
A prequel to Crossing The Whitewash, the novel is set in 1982 as Britain comes to terms with a Thatcher government and the prospect of war in the south Atlantic…
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF MAURICE ‘BIG MO’ DOLAN, ARMED ROBBER AND FAMILY MAN
Nick is here to talk all about what Big Mo does on an average day …
Where do they go?
Big Mo stays out late, generally getting home just before his eldest boy Chuck, 7, is packed off to school, then his day follows a pretty familiar pattern. He takes a shower then gets dressed in a suit, white shirt and tie before taking a stroll to the bookies where he hopes to make enough money to keep the family going for another day or, at least, pay his bar tab. After that he’ll head for his local, The Hope and Anchor, just around the corner from the Tower Block estate in Barking, East London, where he lives. On occasion, he will pick the boys – Chuck and his toddler Sly – up from school and drive them over to his dad’s. Mo’s named the kids after Hollywood action-movie actors Chuck Norris and Sly Stallone. He doesn’t really get on with his dad Billy ‘The Kid’ Dolan, a big-time criminal who has been successful enough to move out into an expensive house with garden in the countryside. He resents his father for quitting his routes and for refusing to let him in on his escapades. During all his years Billy has never been caught, another thing which riles Big Mo. Having suitably wound himself up at his dad’s he returns home to touch base with wife Beryl before heading out again on his “tour of duty” of the local drinking dens. His mistress Audrey, a part-time punk rock singer who is in her early twenties, serves behind the bar in one of the pubs, the 3 Wishes. He regularly ends up back at her flat, though he does a good job in keeping the affair quiet.
What does he do?
Big Mo is an ambitious crook, having worked his way up from shop lifting the odd packet of cigarettes during the walk to school to burglarising expensive homes in the more salubrious areas of London. He wants to break into the big time to prove something to his father and give his family a better life. He is a big admirer of Margaret Thatcher, who believes it is down to the individual to improve their lot, and her right-hand man Lord Tebbitt, who tells everyone to ‘get on their bike’ to find work. He fancies the idea of breaking into the profession of armed robbery.
Who is he with?
Big Mo’s wife Beryl is his rock, but he doesn’t fully appreciate her and is aggressive to her on occasion. She takes the knocks, though, in order to try to protect her sons Chuck and Sly from Mo’s angry outbursts. She has a deep, inner strength. He doesn’t tell her his business and though she suspects she doesn’t want to know, so that she can’t be implicated if things go wrong. She toys with the idea of leaving him but is deterred by the memory of how she felt when her mother left her father and the long-term impact it had. She is so busy with the kids, though, that Mo feels slightly neglected and finds comfort in the arms of his young barmaid.
What does he think? How does he feel?
Mo feels he never gets the breaks in life. He sees his dad living in a palatial country home and wants a bit of it for himself. He feels his wife neglects him now she has the kids and only has real empathy with his younger brother Clive. He worries about the kid. Clive recently confessed he had joined the army and was carrying out ceremonial duties at Buckingham Palace. Word is, though, that his brigade of the Scots Guards could soon be heading for the south Atlantic and a confrontation with the Argentine forces who have taken over the Falkland Islands.
Why is he doing whatever it is he is doing?
Mo wants the love of his family and to see them in a better situation, and the respect of his father and his peers. Having been expelled from school early he sees his only option is to take to crime. He thinks he can carry it off, though, being a meticulous planner.
Mo sees a trained masseur, Sunil Prabhakar, and uses him as a catholic would the Confessional, revealing some of his deepest secrets, thinking that they are covered by some kind of confidentiality agreement. Little is he aware that Suni also treats Max Cooper, who is in line for a top job with Special Branch
About the author:
NICK RIPPINGTON is one of the victims of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal you never hear about. Having proudly taken his dream job 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 six years ago. The dramatic events prompted Nick to write UK gangland thriller Crossing the Whitewash, which was released in August 2015. Spark Out is the second novel in his Boxer Boys series. Married to Liz, Nick has two children – Jemma, 35, and Olivia, 7. A Bristolian at heart, he lives near Ilford, Essex.