Crossing the Whitewash by Nick Rippington
Publisher: Cabrilon Books
Release date: 5 August 2015
Rating: *** and a half
Back cover blurb: Gangland London collides with rugby-crazy Wales in a suspense-filled tale of two friends torn apart by circumstance. Football prodigy Gary Marshall and best mate Arnie Dolan spend their teen years battling adversity together on the rundown east London estate where they live. Then a series of life-shattering events intervene to split them apart. Eight years later Arnie sets out on a mission to track down his old sparring partner, keen to impart a shocking secret he has harboured for most of his life. So why is Gary now working in Wales as a sports writer under a false name? And why is he so keen to leave the past in the past? As the world's biggest rugby tournament approaches the mysteries start to unravel, leading to a gripping climax at the temple of Welsh rugby - the Millennium Stadium.
Crossing the Whitewash is a curious novel. Part gangland thriller, part suspense, with a good dose of sport thrown in, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but I thought it was a good novel to read during the initial stages of the World Cup.
Regular readers of my blog will no doubt have figured out by now that I am most definitely Welsh, but what they probably don't know is that I am a massive rugby fan, and I love the World Cup, its such an exciting tournament - I digress...
Upon its opening Crossing the Whitewash appears to be a novel about gangland London, Gary Marshall is saved from bullies, by the renowned Arnie Dolan. The pair become largely inseparable until a tragic accident changes everything for Gary.
The pair remain in touch until an incident after a football match sends them their separate ways. Fast forward several years and we meet (the now) Gareth Prince (Gary Marshall) at a job interview for a Wales' best selling Sunday Sports paper. Now a reasonably successful reporter, Gareth is determined to hold down a decent job and make a new life for himself in Wales.
Unfortunately Gareth knows next to nothing about rugby, which is pretty much a cardinal sin in Wales. Luckily with the help of the work experience boy, his Father and an ex-Welsh Rugby international known simply as 'The Legend' Gareth begins to find his feet in Wales, and is drawn in by the passion and pride of the nation for their national sport.
But as much as Gareth wants to break away from his previous life, there are people from his past that are not so keen to make the break, and when they come looking for him, the novel takes on a more sinister angle.
I don't want to give too much away, but if you love a good thriller, a decent game of rugby, or just a good old fashioned sports novel, then this is one for you....
Crossing the Whitewash is available to buy now from Amazon online.