by Tom Schreck
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received for review from Amazon Vine
“Every one has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
This quote from Mike Tyson is why I love Tom Schreck’s Duffy Dombrowski. Duffy is not only a mid-level boxer, he’s a counselor for troubled youth. In the fifth installment of the series, The Ten Count (CreateSpace 2014), Duffy is sent to a private high school to help students come to terms with the brutal murder of one of their teachers. As he works with students and faculty, he finds a lot of problems at this school that could have contributed to this man’s death and–being Duffy–he can’t stop himself from trying to unravel the mysteries. Add to this a blossoming love interest, an odd affair, and a hiccup in his career, the story is non-stop action.
Duffy Dombrowski is a believable mix of rough boxer and thoughtful therapist. Once you’re in his head (it’s written in first person), you realize there’s a lot more going on than fighting and drinking. In fact, Duffy has a solid moral compass, a respect for real people, and no need to impress others or be impressed by superficial trappings.
I love the procedural stuff–how to be a boxer–that’s included, like this:
“…a day with shadowboxing, heavy bag work, three rounds of mitts, and these new plyometric things I’ve started doing that were supposed to make me explosive.”
I have never been a boxing fan, but through Duffy’s eyes, I got a real appreciation for for the sport and the passion behind it. I almost want to watch the next match on TV.
“Like some guys’ La-Z-Box recliner, it [the boxing gym] was where I went when I wanted to get away from the day and unwind.”
Great internal dialogue for Duffy throughout the book helps the reader get to know the main character well and understand his motivation and thought:
“I probably should’ve gone for a recovery drink [after his gym workout] high in protein with low glycemic complex carbohydrates and combined that with a light snack of the same proportions that also had some fiber to fill me up. That’s what I should’ve done.”
This could be a stand-alone story, but it uses characters and ideas introduced earlier in the series, so you might want to read those first. Click to see my reviews of Getting Dunn and The Vegas Knockout. To buy any of these books on Amazon, click the links below:
More mysteries involving people with unusual jobs:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of dozens of books on integrating tech into education, webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.