TKO Reviews

“Schreck scores again. TKO is a mystery filled with laughs, action, bad basset hound manners, and heart. I read it in one sitting, and eagerly look forward to the next Duffy adventure. ”

– JA Konrath, mystery author

“When you combine Duffy, Billy, Allah-King and Elvis on the 8-tracks you have a combination that just can’t be beat. Grab a copy today and delve into Duffy’s adventures. I don’t think you will be sorry you did.”

–Patricia Reid,

“Not for the feint of heart, TKO starts with a one-two punch and doesn’t let up until everyone is down for the count.  No holds barred, insightful characterization makes this series a stand-out.”

–Jennifer Monohan Winberry,




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TKO is fast-paced, authentic, and funny as hell. Tom Schreck delivers the grit and spit, blood and bruises of the fight game with rollicking good humor and real compassion for the underdogs among us. Social worker and journeyman boxer Duffy Dombrowski is a workingman’s hero, and I want him in my corner!

Sean Chercover, author of Trigger City

There’s nothing technical about the terrific knock out that Tom Schreck delivers to readers in his latest novel, TKO. It’ll put you down for the count with laughter. Whether he’s discoursing on his disastrous love life, his nightmare of a job, his escapades in the ring, or the mystery that comes knocking at his door, Duffy Dombrowski will have you in stitches. Tom Schreck is a contender for funniest author working in the crime genre today.

William Kent Krueger, author of Heaven’s Keep

Fresh, intense and funny, Schreck’s second mystery to feature unrepentant Elvis fan and dog lover Duffy Dombrowski (after 2007’s On the Ropes) packs a knockout punch. When a serial killer starts taking out students at McDonough High in Crawford, a small town that appears to be in New York State, the police suspect Howard Reinhart (aka Hackin’ Howard), recently released after serving 12 years of a 30-year prison sentence for doing in two cheerleaders, a quarterback and a class president after they repeatedly abused him as a geeky teen. Duffy, an Irish-Polish heavyweight boxer who also works as a counselor at the local Jewish Unified Services, where Howard is one of his clients, isn’t so sure. After Howard disappears and begins phoning Duffy, pleading his innocence, Duffy turns amateur sleuth. The affable Duffy makes an admirable hero in his compassion for at-risk teens and in his belief that even criminals deserve second chances. (June)

Publisher’s Weekly

Boxing social worker Duffy Dombroski is always living one outburst away from being fired, one Schlitz away from being too drunk and one phone call away from his next bout. One of his current assignments is Howard Rinehart who has just been released from prison. Howard was sentenced to thirty years for the gruesome murders of two cheerleaders, the football captain and class president.

Howard had been the class geek for much of his life and snapped shortly before graduation. He had no problems while in prison, did his time quietly and now wants nothing more than to blend back in quietly to society. When cheerleaders and other BMOC’s begin dying again, the police look for Howard, certain he his crimes were not a one time spree. Duffy knows in his gut that Howard is not responsible, but cannot prove it until he finds Howard.

A chance to fight in Madison Square Garden and a surprise win take Duffy’s attention away from Howard for a moment, but an outburst at work puts Duffy on leave allowing him to refocus his efforts. He begins quietly poking around, aided by bloodhound Al and finds a disturbing new synthetic drug and a more disturbing ritualistic killing that is rapidly shrinking the graduating class.

In spite of its dark theme, there are many laugh-aloud moments in TKO, usually when Duffy’s drinking buddies get into arguments that range from Canadian football to how often guys think about sex. Keeping Duffy real is a young high school student, Billy, a geek to parallel Howard, who is channeling his energies into karate with little success. Duffy reluctantly agrees to be Billy’s sensei and Billy shows up each morning, forcing Duffy to stay focused, ultimately saving his life as Duffy selflessly sets things in motion that will improve Billy’s quality of life and give him a fighting chance, the way Duffy’s boxing coach Smitty quietly does for Duffy.

The murders are very dark, the impact on the community is not explored, but their impact on Duffy, his client Howard, and the police force is enough to continue to move the investigation and plot forward and keep interest up.

Not for the feint of heart, TKO starts with a one-two punch and doesn’t let up until everyone is down for the count. No holds barred, insightful characterization makes this series a stand-out.

From Mystery Reader

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