Schreck, Tom 1961–
Schreck, Tom 1961–
Schreck, Tom 1961–
Born September 2, 1961. Education: University of Notre Dame, M.A.
Writer and boxing official. Former drug clinic director; world championship boxing official and judge.
On the Ropes: A Duffy Dombrowski Mystery, Midnight Ink (Woodbury, MN), 2007.
TKO: A Duffy Dombrowski Mystery, Midnight Ink (Woodbury, MN), 2008.
Coauthor of the Midnight Writers blog. Contributor to periodicals, including Westchester, American Health and Fitness, Professional Counselor, Catfancy, and Business Review. Author of a column on boxing for Fightnews.com.
Tom Schreck, a writer and a boxing official, initiated a boxing-related mystery series with the publication of his first novel, On the Ropes: ADuffy Dombrowski Mystery, in 2007. In discussing the series' protagonist, Duffy, Schreck explained in an interview appearing on his Home Page that "the unmistakable thing about Duffy is his determination and his sense of right and wrong," adding that it is "that sense that actually puts him in ‘losing’ situations. He refuses to be a slave to paperwork and that almost gets him fired, he's intensely loyal to his friends even when they don't deserve it—but most of all he stands up for the vulnerable people who need it the most." In the debut novel, counselor and mediocre professional boxer Duffy Dombrowski suspects foul play when one of women he counsels dies. His investigation into the matter reveals his skill for undercover work.
A contributor to Kirkus Reviews commented that the title character has the "heart of a social worker" and the "schnoz of a shamus." While noting that the novel is "occasionally over the top," the same contributor concluded that "warmhearted, tough, funny Duffy makes it a promising debut." P.J. Coldren, writing in Reviewing the Evidence, observed that what makes the novel "such fun to read is Duffy's take on life. He's not a fool—he knows people are bad, and that people do bad things," yet Duffy simply "keeps trying to do what's right, even when the system doesn't cooperate."
Schreck published the next installment in the series, TKO: A Duffy Dombrowski Mystery, the following year. Duffy, again counseling the troubled, doubts the widespread speculation that one of his clients, Howard, who killed several cheerleaders as a teen, is responsible for similar murders that occurred shortly after his release from prison. Howard disappears, but a phone call professing his innocence to Duffy sends the pseudo-sleuth into investigative mode once again to protect his client.
A contributor to Kirkus Reviews concluded: "Answering the bell for round two … Duffy remains refreshingly iconoclastic, though subplot clutter slows his footwork." A contributor to Publishers Weekly mentioned that "the affable Duffy makes an admirable hero in his compassion for at-risk teens" and noted in particular his ideology that criminals should be given a second chance at life after serving their time. Susan Taylor, reviewing the book in Capital Region Living magazine, said that "Duff is a man of honor, kind of like Robert Parker's detective character, Spencer, and this sequel is worthy of Schreck's first book. If you are looking for a fun, fast summer read, look no further."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2007, review of On the Ropes: A Duffy Dombrowski Mystery; April 1, 2008, review of TKO: A Duffy Dombrowski Mystery.
Publishers Weekly, April 28, 2008, review of TKO, p. 116.
Capital Region Living,http://www.crlmag.com/ (June 17, 2008), Susan Taylor, review of TKO.
Reviewing the Evidence,http://www.reviewingtheevidence.com/ (June 17, 2008), P.J. Coldren, review of On the Ropes.
Tom Schreck Home Page,http://www.tomschreck.com (June 16, 2008).