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Richard Marinick and the 'Boyos' of South Boston

In South Boston, a "boyo" is a foot soldier for organized crime.

Richard Marinick knows something about the life.

"I worked in the Combat Zone [Boston's once-thriving adult entertainment district] and I rubbed shoulders with a lot of wise guys," he tells NPR's Scott Simon. "These were organized crime figures and I was 19 looking at them... with beautiful girls and lots of cash."

He went on to work as a state trooper, but moved into the debt-collection business and eventually did 10 years in prison for bank robbery.

But he used that time to develop his writing skills. And his novel Boyos takes him full circle, in a sense -- it's a penetrating look at the lives of young thugs and old goons settling scores in Southie.

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