Posts Tagged ‘fighting’

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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I’m not a parent.

At the age of 17 I began to train in karate, eventually got a black belt and then got involved in boxing. The fighting arts or sports or whatever you want to call it are a large part of my life.

Since I started training 33 years ago I haven’t got in a street fight, despite jobs in bars, pro boxing and rehabs.

Still, I feel good  knowing I’d be better off with the training and I believe it does something for your spirit. There are clichés like, “The best way to insure peace is to be prepared for war…” but I don’t know if that explains it.

Not everyone shares my view. Some don’t want their children any where around fighting.

Others want their kids able to protect themselves. And what about how the children feel about things like fear and bullying.

I’m curious–how do you feel?

For a fun video showing boxers fighting karate guys click here.

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The diary of a 50 year old never-was gym rat who wants to keep sparring and is working with a couple of pro fighters as trainers and sparring partners. A look at the physical, psychological and emotional aspects of boxing.

I slept well and I was well rested having budgeted my workouts intelligently this week.

My trainer just signed on for a pro fight and he is well into his training camp. He lets me know that he’s getting a lot of work in but he’s glad to work with me because I’m left-handed. Southpaws give him trouble and he likes the practice.

Now this may not seem like a compliment to the uninitiated but it is and it is a significant. This pro thinks there is something worthy in my sparring to give him work. Nothing more, nothing less but it is something and it means a lot to me.

The bell rings for the first round and we start to move. Very soon into the round I notice something disturbing and I would love to hear from other fighters about if they can relate to this: I can’t concentrate.

I’m pushing my thoughts out of my head, I’m internally demanding to concentrate and still, I find myself thinking of other things–my day, my writing, my headgear, the noise in the gym. I think demanding in my head to concentrate is making it a bit worse.

Three quarters it is still going on and I find myself with my back to the ropes and my trainer throws a three punch combination that i catch mostly on my gloves by they rock into my headgear and i feel their force. they don’t ring my bell of register as pain but they register as force and as danger.

Instantly my concentration problems disappear.

Funny how that works.

Danger is an important and effective motivator. It let’s you know what is important in the here and now and it involuntarily narrows your focus like nothing else. I guess it occurs outside of the ring and it may explain why some people seem to get addicted to stress and trauma and may even seek it out.

It wasn’t pleasant being scattered mentally. it felt orderly to have my concentration back.

Anyone else feel this?

For other sparring diary and boxing blogs click here.

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This makes four straight weeks of getting good sparring in. it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do that.

Today I wanted to build on the fundamentals I’ve been focusing on, namely keeping my vision, bringing my jab hand back and keeping my guard in so I don’t get caught with the uppercut. My goal today was to stay off the ropes, move side to side instead of back and not reflexively give up ground.

My trainer is smaller than me and he perpetually comes in, never taking a backward step. My first reaction is to backpedal which is wrong, puts me in a position to do nothing offensively and it’s exhausting.

I did very well with holding my guard and I noticed it slowed everything down. I had to pump the jab and really concentrate to move to the side but it definitely worked. I had to focus really hard in staying in the right stance and time the jab to counter his moves in on me. When I wanted to score i had to commit myself and move forward which is where I became vulnerable. I was pleased with my stamina though all of my good strategy began to erode as it always does when fatigue set in. In the third, trust me, fatigue set in–though not as bad as in previous weeks.

Something else of note. I felt like crap going to the gym today. I didn’t sleep well and I had a few things on my mind bothering me. In the past when I’ve made myself spar when i felt like that i wound up taking a headshot that I didn’t want to take or exhausting myself and really feeling like crap for a while.

Today I felt like I needed to spar. I didn’t want to lose the traction of three straight weeks, I wanted the camaraderie of the gym and I wanted the mood boost it always gives. I got all of that and it was better than any time on a shrink’s couch. It has always been that way for me and I’m not sure why.

Sparring is exhilarating, it tires you out and it gives you a chance to burn off steam. it does something else that i think has to do with the concept of mindfulness. While I’m fighting I HAVE to think of fighting in the moment. I have to be fluid in the moment and keep an empty mind while being able to react. i can’t obsessively go over bullshit that I let bother me. For these nine minutes I have to focus and be fluid at the same time.

Nothing else has ever put me in the moment like fighting.

More than anything else that explains why I want to do it my whole life.

Here’s some of my other sparring diary entries.

Here’s some of the Duffy Dombrowski Fight Club blogs.

Here’s a really cool interview with John “The Ice Man” Scully on the life of a sparring partner

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Three weeks ago I started to write about my sparring sessions with my trainer, a pro fighter. You could read the first  entry here and the second entry here.

This was the first time I’ve sparred three weeks in a row in years and I already noticed something important–I was less anxious. I was aware I was about to get in the ring and see punches but it was more like I felt before a softball game. I wanted to perform well but I didn’t feel as  much concern for my safety. (I couldn’t bring myself to type the word “fear.” psychoanalysis welcome here.)

Actually there was more concern than softball.

Saturday night I watched two great fights for studying boxing technique. Pawel Wolak vs Delvin Rodriguez and Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito. Wolak and Margarito both stalk their opponents while Rodriguez and Cotto score their points while backing up, evading and counterpunching. Saturday night the two evaders won.

My trainer is smaller than me, is obviously a better fighter and he never ever takes a step back. It’s exhausting to fight an opponent like that. if I stand and trade with him he’ll out score me and it will hurt. My fight is to move side to side, jab to keep him off me and somehow try to make him pay for coming in on me. I try to be an evader. The difference is the guys who do it really well have unbelievable stamina. it is freaking exhausting and knowing the strategy is one thing while applying it with your conditioning is a world of something else.

I know this. I really do.

In the ring Sunday I did it until I got tired which was within the first 45 seconds of the first round. I tried to stay relaxed but it isn’t easy. The tension wastes energy and makes you less fluid. When a hard punch comes in on me I tend to back up instead of going to the side because that’s reflex. Hopefully sparring a lot will make going to the side more natural.

Like last week I’m trying really hard to not ever lose sight of my trainer but in the first round I ducked and found myself out of position. I wasn’t where I could be hit but that was just luck. My jab worked well and somewhere in the second round I landed one off the ropes that i felt in my knuckles. I say it felt hard to me because sometimes you can feel the bone of your knuckle hit the bone of face. My trainer acknowledged the shot verbally but showed no physical reaction to it.

There in lies the problem. In fighting a peer a good shot calms the action. A good shot against someone at the level makes them think, it makes them less aggressive and they often back off for a little while or they charge in out of anger and become even easier to hit. In a me vs the pro that’s not happening so I get no break.

We wound up doing 2 minutes of additional round for 3 2/3 rounds. It was tough catching my breath and in the last round I couldn’t execute the evading counterpunching that I wanted to.

Still, I felt more comfortable and though I didn’t feel it my trainer said this was the best I’ve looked.

Did I mention I pay him?

My buddy Paul (who I box with) sent this along. It might answer our question…note the karate guys are bare fisted and kicking…

I’ve lived in both of these worlds and this is the most common question I get: Who wins in a street fight?

The answer is an easy one.

Join the Club over at Face!book

It depends.

It obviously depends on each individual’s skills and training. But let’s work from the assumption that we have two identically trained and talented individuals. One is a boxer and the other a karateka.

They get into in the street with no rules.

Here are the variables that I need to know.

1. Who gets the first shot in?
2. How much room do they have to fight?
3. Is the karate guy from a style who relies on kicks?
4. Has the karate guy trained in full contact?
5. Is the boxer a good mover?
6. Is the boxer a power puncher or a finesse fighter?

If the karate guy hasn’t trained in full contact, doesn’t get the first shot in and if he relies on kicks (especially high ones) he’s screwed. Not training in full contact puts him psychologically way behind. The boxer will able to take harder shots and not be fazed. The karateka will be in trouble when he takes a full shot.

If the fight is in close quarters the boxer MAY have an advantage because the ability to kick will be neutralized.

If the boxer gets hit with a karateka’s blow first he’s in trouble if it’s well placed. Boxers don’t train in chops to the throat, fingers to the eyes and elbows to the temple. If the boxer isn’t a big puncher, has poor boxing defense and isn’t good at movement, he’s also in trouble. If he relies on finesse in the ring to score points he’s in trouble.

When the fight evolves into holds or winds up on the ground there are many more variables. If the karate guy has experience in holds and pressure points, the boxer will be in trouble. If either combatant has grappling experience they are likely to win.

Here’s the thing about real fights. If you want to win one throw a sucker punch (or the equivalent sucker technique.) Catch your enemy when they aren’t paying attention and make it count. Incapacitate them by knocking them unconscious or by doing something that really hurts–then incapacitate them with follow up stuff.

Fair fights are for suckers.