Posts Tagged ‘duffy dombrowski’

You Can’t Walk Away From the War, June 1, 2012


Patricia H. Parker “Bookwoman”

This review is from: Getting Dunn (Paperback)

T. J. Dunn has seen much more of life than most women her age. Right out of college, she went on active duty as an Army Lieutenant in Iraq. When we first meet her, she is traveling in a UAH along a street in an Iraqi town. Her unit is attacked, they find themselves surrounded, and her Platoon Sergeant is shot in the head right next to her. She realizes that the unit’s 50 calibre gun is running low on ammunition, and the only supplies are strapped to the outside of the UAH. As she crawls out on the outside of the vehicle, she is shot in the arm and falls off onto the road, out in the open, and she knows she is going to die. As she watches her vehicle pull away from her, leaving her all alone, it explodes.

The reader next finds T. J., still in a drugged fog, in the hospital, three days later. The chaplain and one of her and her fiancé’s best friends, David Strickland, come to her, and she knows they bring news that her whole unit was killed in the explosion of the UAH. However, they also bring the news that her fiancé, Captain David Halle, has committed suicide. T.J and David were not stationed together, but he was also on active duty in Iraq. She is confused and distraught. Captain Halle was not the type to commit suicide. Also, he is the second man close to her who has taken this action. Her father, also an Army Officer, had committed suicide, without warning, a few years earlier.

Having been released from active duty, we find T.J. a year later, having run away from everything and everyone from her past, working as a stripper in a bar in Albany, New York and spending her spare time as a volunteer on a Suicide Hotline for a local charity.. She has no friends and keeps to herself. A few of the dancers and a couple of the other volunteers have become acquaintances, but she doesn’t let them get close, and she never speaks about her past. However, her past haunts her, and she is in counseling to help with the pain, but, to her, this is a new day, and she doesn’t want to even consider the old ones. Then, one night, she looks up during her performance, and thinks she sees David Strickland in the crowd. She looks for him later, but he has disappeared. From that point on, the story gets deeper and murkier. She finally realizes that, for some unknown reason, someone is trying to kill her, and it has something to do with Iraq, David’s suicide and secrets she may or may not know.

“Getting Dunn” is an intriguing book with a thrilling story. The reader is led from one point to another until the truth is laid out and the secrets are revealed. It is a well constructed tale with T. J. not knowing which are the good guys and which the bad until the very end. Mr. Schreck has written some other books which have won top awards in their genre. I recommend this book highly as it never lets up, and there are no down spots as this young woman fights her way back to some semblance of normalcy in a life which hadn’t known much up until that time.

This review is from: Getting Dunn (Paperback)
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Good story and really appropriate for the time and generation. The mental health issues are brought out with compassion and frustration. T.J. is a perfect example of someone using their physical body to cover the emotional and mental damage done to them through no fault of their own.

Unfortunately, the bad guys are probably our neighbors and friends because they wear friendly faces. I will definately go looking for this authors other books.

Tom Schreck Brings It! Not a disappointment as usual, May 17, 2012
This review is from: Getting Dunn (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What’s this?)

Although tough, TJ Dunn knew the risk when she entered the army. Her team is ambushed in Iraq and when she’s the only survivor left, albiet physically and mentally tramatized she also finds out her fiance has taken his life.

When she comes back home, she drifts through life depressed and then she gets this anonymous call who says maybe her guy didn’t kill himself. Maybe the government or somebody else is making it look like suicide to cover up some drug conspiracy.

Life jumps back into her and she sets out to find the killer.

This was the second book by Schreck and I was burning the midnight reading this suspense! Good job … again!!

Ex-military topless pole dancer? Why not?, June 7, 2012

Unaccustomed as I am to heroines who relieve stress by kick-boxing, and then head for an establishment called “Taco” to entice men by topless pole dancing, I must admit that I was able to relate eventually. What makes this unusually interesting is that Dunn is experiencing a devastating grief for both her father and her love, who were both in the service, and who both committed suicide. The act was not something she would have thought either of them capable of – so something else was going on. She makes it her business to find out – all the while, in grief counseling with a psychiatrist who plumbs her depths with great professional precision. This process is aided by an author, who, himself, is a psychologist – so it’s all very real.

I must admit, the pages were turning and I did get caught up in the intrigue. This novel wasn’t the best of its kind – but it was a departure from the usual – and I celebrate a plot that is creative. If you like tough heroines (I wouldn’t want to meet this one in a dark alley), you might consider this novel a “diamond in the rough”.


Great!, March 28, 2012


Richard A. Mitchell “Rick Mitchell” (candia, new hampshire United States) – See all my reviews

Other reviewers have compared Mr. Schreck to Coben and Parker. They are absolutely right. He is definitely in that league. I was shocked this is his third book. I immediately went and bought his first. This book has all the humor, intelligence and human warmth of their best stuff.

This book has a few intrigues going on at once. Like the best of Parker and Coben, Schreck’s main character, the professional sparring partner and social worker, Duffy Dombrowski, is well-developed and with great depth. This enables the plot to include some real human interest elements to go with the humor and the mysteries.

Although classified as a mystery, this is not a standard whodunit. Duffy is going through life in his usual take-it-as-it-comes manner. There is a parallel under story of murders of Mexicans in Las Vegas, but this does not impact him for quite some time. For most of the book, Duffy is dealing with the vagaries of being employed by the Russian mob.

There is a lot of good humor here to go with the good story lines. Duffy’s “posse” of four, who normally don’t leave their usual bar stools is priceless. Their conversations are laugh out loud funny while being perfectly believable despite their absurdity. Duffy’s bassett hound, Al, adds to the book in unforeseen ways.

I have only one caution. In the first 60 or so pages, there was a lot of scatological humor that would put a 14 year old boy on his knees with guffaws, but not so much for adults. I was pleased and relieved that after that start, the humor became much richer.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough for a good fun read.

“Just Knockdown Refreshing”, April 17, 2012


John Mercier

I gave this story five stars because it was so refreshing in the truest sense of the word. The main character, Duffy Dombrowski, is the most likeable boxer that you could ever meet; being a social worker might have something to do with him being a people person. He helps people all throughout the story and being a professional heavyweight boxer and black belt in martial arts he is really able to help in some rough situations.

Duffy works as a social worker in upstate New York, but because he is a decent “South-Paw” boxer he is offered a chance to go to Vegas to spar with a Russian boxing heavyweight to get him ready for a championship bout for the best money that he has ever made. Of course he can’t turn it down; he just has to get out of going to a social work training camp in the Catskills. With Duffy where there is a will, there is a way. Nothing is ever simple for Duffy and his big heart and since he gets a whole house to live in at a “Brothel” he invites four of his friends to come on out. Oh yeah he couldn’t leave his basset hound, Al behind either. It’s so funny how he gets Al there. While in Vegas, Duffy helps out prostitutes, illegal, and legal Mexicans, with the help of Al, of course.

Duffy’s character reminds me of Nelson Demille’s John Corey, who always keeps me laughing. Tom Schreck is a very good story teller and his words go smoothly onto the paper and back to this reader’s mine to create a very refreshing story. I am going to read the two previous Duffy Dombrowski novels, since this one was so enjoyable. Like the author, Tom Schreck, I live in the Albany, NY area.

A Real Page Turner, May 30, 2012


Chris Warren

This is the first Tom Schreck book that I have read. I found ‘The Vegas Knockout’ to be a highly readable, funny and action-packed read with a very human element to it. The characters in general were very interesting, and Duffy Dombrowski, the main antagonist, was a flawed but likeable man’s man that would not be far out of place in a Hemmingway novel. I recommmend this light, highly entertaining book as the perfect laying on the beach with an adult beverage type read.

Loved It – Want More!, April 3, 2012


Brenda Frank “Eclectic Reader”

Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What’s this?)

This is my first Tom Schreck/Duffy book, and I loved it. J.A. Konrath who writes the Jack Daniels series is one of my favorite authors. Konrath’s stories are irreverent, funny (sometimes on a juvenile level) and the good guys win. Tom Schreck is a likely winner for me since he has collaborated with Konrath to write: “Planter’s Punch,” encompassing both the boxing and the mixed drink themes.

Consider Al, a “rescue” basset hound given anthropomorphic qualitites. like dogs and stories including dogs as characters. Al is a hoot and gave me many laugh out loud moments. Duffy, the lead character, is a boxer, sort of. He’s really hired as a sparring partner for really good boxers. Basically, he’s paid to be a piece of meat to pummel. More important, Duffy is a really good guy prone to help the needy.

Adventures ensue in Los Vegas, in a brothel, in the gym, in the ring, and in the casinos. There are subplots, tearful and touching moments, lots of jabs, hooks and low blows. In the end, of course, the good guys win and happiness prevails. It works for me.

Vegas Knock Out, June 26, 2012


Rebecca Townsend (Indianapolis, IN United States) – This review is from: The Vegas Knockout (Paperback)

Tom Schreck landed the perfect punch with Vegas Knock Out. His cast of babes, boxers and bassets grabbed quick attention, which was held by a rampaging murderer, a damsel in distress and a loud, ugly Russian in need of a good smack down. Schreck admitted to encountering a seeming impasse during his writing process. Glad he got over it. Maybe Elvis is watching over him with a little help from Boggsy.The Vegas Knockout

Exceeds Expectations…Once Again, June 21, 2012


Abby Mead “Abby” (Grand Rapids, Michigan)

Once again, another fantastic book from Tom Schreck.

His narrative and writing style makes it seem that you’re right there in his head while he’s writing it. It’s as if while you’re reading it, you can imagine how a film version would be.

It’s great to see Al, Duffy & the gang back, because, honestly, I was going through withdrawal. If you haven’t bought this book yet, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice. I think that this is the best one yet.

The Vegas Knockout

Short chapters full of suspense!, June 9, 2012


Kat “kttykat16” (San Francisco, CA) – See all my reviews

This is a great book and and easy read. With an eclectic cast of characters and 80 short chapters full of suspense, author Tom Schreck shows you the life of Duffy Dombrowski and Al, the basset hound and side-kick. Duffy is a social worker and professional boxing sparing partner who encounters the Russian mob, prostitution rings, illegal immigration and of course murder. If you love Vegas, boxing, or Basset hounds you’ll love this book even more. Chapter 7, and 13 and 14 where so funny I had to share those chapters with my wife and she was just as amused as I was. This is my first of the Duffy Dombrowski series and I jumped in not even realizing that there were three previous books. Tom knows his audience and how to appeal to the masses, with his master’s degree in psychology he keeps you reading, in fact after the first few chapters it was difficult to put the book down until I was finished.

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This One’s Got A Strong Heart And A Nerve Of Steel, May 15, 2012


W. Dolan (USA)

This review is from: The Vegas Knockout (Paperback)

I’m a fight fan, a rockabilly fan and rescue dog fan (anything with a white tipped tail and an annoying howl will do) so it was inevitable I’d find Tom Schreck’s ‘Duffy’ series.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the Duffy books and looked forward to reading ‘The Vegas Knockout’ since I heard about it.

The new setting opened up avenues that couldn’t be traveled back East. I liked the change of scenery and Las Vegas was a natural place for a fighter to end up.

Duff and Al have their usual dynamic that I’ve found hilarious and spot-on. Some of Al’s this-must-be-comic-relief-made-up-for-a-work-of-fiction antics are anything but fantastic. Live with a basset and you’ll laugh as you mentally commiserate with Duff (and know (some of) this stuff ain’t made up).

Happily, “The Fearsome Foursome” make their way to Glitter Gulch to hang out with Duffy. They are regulars at the bar back home and their conversations kill me every time. They’re the scene-stealers in all the Duffy books, IMO.

‘TVKO’ isn’t all fun, fluff an’ fightin’, though. Racism and nationalistic xenophobia figure into the story as well and the morality themes aren’t as subtle as in earlier editions of the Duffy Dombrowski series.

Not to worry, there’re hookers, mobsters, fights and breathless running through the streets of Sin City for you action hounds, too. It *is* a whodunit, after all.

I won’t go into the nuts & bolts of the story- Amazon’s ‘Book Description’ gives you that.

I can’t not mention the old stage hand at the Imperial, though. My favorite part of the story, and the parts I found most touching, involved him. Duffy (or is it Al?) is the hero we love and root for but the old timer gives TVKO huge added touches of heart and humanity.


Every thing you could want in a book., June 11, 2012


Siobhan Bourbeau (Billerica, MA USA) –

Another great book by Tom Schreck. I’ve been waiting anxiously for another Dombrowski book and this one did not disappoint. The story takes Duffy to Vegas for the opportunity of a life time and of course his best 4 legged friend, Al and the 4some have to come along as well. As a basset hound owner I found myself laughing out loud at Duffy and Al’s journey through the airport. The book delivered it usual great story line, filled with humor and suspense. Tom has a way of really bringing his characters to life and making you care about what happens to them. Once I started it I couldn’t put it down, I need to know how it ended.

Life imitates art imitates life


M. Hegeman (New York State)

This review is from: The Vegas Knockout (Paperback)

I’m also a social worker, drug counselor, Elvis lover, rescued basset hound parent. I don’t punch or get punched as a side job, but other than that have found my Doppelganger in Duffy Dombrowski. The scenes at his job, as a hapless therapist trying to help people who are too messed up to see how messed up they are, are bittersweet funny and true. Duffy has wit, good sense, and a heart for helping others. Plus he’ll kick your ass if he has to.

Schreck has created an original, endearing character. Duffy doesn’t want trouble; he’d just like to do his job, hang with his friends, and tend to his dog. But if you’re looking for trouble, you’ve come to the right place. Duffy is a reluctant hero; often as not he’s literally pulled into his adventures by his rambunctious basset hound, Al. But once he’s in, Duffy is in all the way, and the reader cheers him on.

Enjoy your wild ride with Duffy and Al. I defy you to read the scene at the airport check-in without laughing out loud!

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Have you ever wondered why there’s really only four punches in boxing?

There’s the jab, the cross, the hook and the uppercut.

Sure there are variations–the 3/4 hook, the hook that comes in an uppercutting fashion etc but these are really variations on a theme.

There are four punches for good reason.

The body that is trying to impart damage while reasonably protecting itself from damage can really only do it these four ways within the rules of boxing.

I used to be a karate instructor and there were 100’s of variations of strikes, thrown in different stances, with the hand in different positions and in innumerable motions. Why doesn’t that happen in boxing?

Well, for one reason the boxing glove doesn’t allow for different hand formations and there is also a scoring of the glove that limits strikes coming from the knuckle area. More importantly, though, is that bio-mechanically other ways of throwing strikes leave the body way too vulnerable in the ring. The boxing stance is the way it is not because it is aesthetically pleasing but because through trial and error it results in the percentage balance of risk and reward.

The boxing stance with one foot slightly forward, the body turned at a slight angle with the knees bent limits the targets for the opponents. It also positions the body to throw punches efficiently and balances the body for movement, striking and slipping. The guard is high with depending on your view positions thumbs at the temples and elbows in to protect from body shots. Most arms are not long enough to protect the head and the body at the same time so a fluid movement between the two areas is required.

Every time a punch is delivered the boxer’s body becomes vulnerable. The punch needs to be recoiled as fast as possible to reduce this vulnerability. A fighter obsessed with safety will fail to commit to a punch and instead will focus on recoiling the jab too much. This will make the jab ineffective and have the reverse effect on the fighter’s safety because now the opponent can step in to counter the weak jab.

A cross travels a farther distance and though more powerful also makes the head of the striker more vulnerable to the powerful hook. The strike has to be in closer to make it work which means they have to cross through a danger zone to position themselves to do it. Coming means rolling the dice on getting caught. When you hear commentators say that a fighter isn’t getting off it may not mean that they are unwilling to punch and may mean that they are not willing to risk getting the position to throw the cross.

The very first knockout (and some of the others) shows well executed crosses.

The hook requires even closer positioning and because of its arc it endangers the striker even more than the cross. Without proper body mechanics it can turn into an arm punch. it may make a loud thud in the ring but that has more to do with it landing on the flat part of the side of the head. If the shifting of bodyweight isn’t behind the hook it is not that fearsome of a punch.

(Joe’s hook comes at :29)

To throw the uppercut a fighter has to be almost chest to chest with an opponent. Otherwise the face is exposed. In tight the risk is minimized.

This is all Boxing 101 and important to fighters. It is also crucial for judges to understand when it comes to evaluate what is happening in front of them. When a fighter isn’t throwing a cross it may be because the opponent is controlling the ring and their counters are controlling the action. An arm hook may land but shouldn’t be given the weight of a good all-body hook. A jab that paws, doesn’t snap and only reaches the opponent’s gloves isn’t a scoring blow even if the loud “thwack” that the fans cheer makes it seem so. And uppercuts inside thrown without the benefit of a bending of the knees and twisting of the torso are merely arm punches that don’t account for much damage.

Sure, boxing is simple but the better word for it is elegant. Elegance connotes a beauty within the simplicity. A well delivered punch is elegant and appear uncomplicated but there are many micro units of it that add up to it’s elegance.

More importantly, a well delivered shot does damage.

For other blogs in this series  click here.

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Despite what you’re hearing all over the internet, Jennifer Aniston’s interest in playing the character “Trina” in the movie version of “On the Ropes” is WAY premature.

How do these rumors get started?

For some background on this click here.

For even more click here.


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Hard luck fighter, Duffy Dombrowski, his low-riding basset side kick Al and the boys from AJ’s Bar got some exciting news this week.

Their next adventure, THE VEGAS KNOCKOUT will be published by Amazon’s new mystery publishing line THOMAS & MERCER! T & M already features the work of Ed McBain and authors like JA Konrath and Barry Eisler.

Amazon announced the creation of Thomas & Mercer this past May and it has already garnered a lot of attention in the publishing world as the “Seventh” of the “Big Six” publishers. You can read about T & M here.

In THE VEGAS KNOCKOUT, Al and the boys join Duff for his sparring partner gig in Vegas with the Russian-mob handled heavyweight contender. But while Duff gets one low blow after another in the ring he gets focused on the serial killings of The Strip’s Mexican street workers. Add in some boxing murders, a virgin-prostitute auction, an evil Elvis impersonator, Jerry Number Two’s disappearance and Al’s affection for the working girls and you got yourself the most exciting, raw and satisfying Duffy yet.

THOMAS & MERCER will release THE VEGAS KNOCKOUT as a trade paperback and a Kindle E-book on May 15, 2012.

You can pre-order it here.

THOMAS & MERCER also will be releasing the new mystery, GETTING DUNN. TJ Dunn is fresh out of Iraq suffering with PTSD and grieving the loss of her military fiance to suicide. She drifts into her own world of volunteering on a suicide hotline, exploring her pain in therapy and making a living as an exotic dancer. When she starts to get calls on the hotline warning her that the military suicides she’s hearing about aren’t suicides at all, she’s troubled. When her fiance’s best friend shows up out of nowhere she’s frightened and when she hears about heroin trade that was making corrupt military officers rich, she’s enraged. She decides to fight and go after those responsible for her pain.

Along the way she also runs into a certain left-handed boxer with a basset hound and a penchant for Schlitz.

GETTING DUNN will be released July 31, 2012. You can pre-order it here.

Not sure if anyone but authors and publishing types care about crap like this but I’m gonna talk about it any way.

Last week Barry Eisler, who writes the wildly successful John Rain thrillers, announced he’s turning down his half a million dollar advance to self-publish his future stuff on Kindle and through other self publishing routes. Joe Konrath, who also writes as Jack Kilborn, decided this a while ago and has been crazy successful being his own man.

I know Joe pretty well and he’s been a huge friend to me in the writing business. We did the novella “Planter’s Punch” which was a Kindle best seller for five months last year. We just signed an audio deal for the collection, too. I’ve met Barry a few times and he’s a really nice guy always willing to help up and coming writers..

These guys are heroes and role models for me so my next Duffy book, “The Vegas Knockout” will be published on Kindle and Createspace.

What’s that mean for readers?

Nothing really.

You can already get all my stuff on Kindle and other ebook distributors. If you’re not a Kindle person the book will be available in traditional paper too.

Just wanted to let you know I’m all in with the Kindle.

Look for the “The Vegas Knockout” in a couple of months.

Jen Forbus is running her own version of March madness. This one pits amateur sleuths from mysteries.

Duffy Dombrowski got out of the first round but will need you help to get to the sweet sixteen.

Vote here, early and often!

To order DUFFY TO THE RESCUE here!
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To order a Duffy book, click on one of the covers to the left.

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I still like to get in the ring and mix it up from time to time. A very fundamental principle in boxing is to keep your guard up. Many fighters drop their guard after they throw a jab and let it hang. Even the very best in the world do it.

Paul Williams is one of the very best in the world.

He and I have something in common.

This is what happens when you let your lead hand hang and don’t protect your head.