Book Quote:

“Rocco, I’m in Vegas.”
“I told you guys that the other night.”
“Maybe Jerry remembers, hang on.” Rocco passed the phone to one of the Jerrys, who dropped it.
“Shit!” I heard two people say together.
“Hello?” Jerry Number Two said. “Who’s this?”
“Jerry, it’s me, Duff. I’m in—“
“You comin’ in?”
“Jerry! Listen to me. Just shut up for a second and listen!”
“Hello?” Jerry said.
“Jerry, get the guys to come out to Vegas. I have a…er…a house all to myself—you guys can stay for free.”

Book Review:

Review by Chuck Barksdale  (DEC 26, 2013)

Although Duffy Dombroski was getting heat from his supervisor to go to a required training program so that he could perform better at his social worker job, Duffy jumped at the chance to go to Las Vegas as a sparring partner for Boris Rusakov, the Russian heavyweight champion. Duffy even somehow finds a way to bring his dog Al on the plane and he convinces all his friends but his trainer Smitty to go with him. Duffy doesn’t care that his doctor is worried about his head injuries; Duffy just wants the chance to go to Vegas. Once he’s in Vegas though, things don’t go the way he hoped and he ends up in some unanticipated situations. Tom Schreck provides an entertaining book with lots of adventures, including some difficult and often touching moments with humor and entertaining moments, primarily provided by his basset hound Al and Duffy’s bar friends.

When Duffy arrives, he finds that he’s not staying at one of the Vegas strip hotels, but rather a legal brothel outside the Vegas city limits. He does have a nice room cleaned every day by the young maid with beauty in looks and voice, a convenient bar and working women that he only visits to have interesting conversations (really). Unfortunately, Boris Rusakov is not interested in following the customary professional sparring practices and is only interested in hitting Duffy hard and often, especially when Duffy gets in a few good hits on the champion.

This is not really a serial killer book, but Schreck includes one that almost seems added after he wrote the main part of the book. Mexicans, primarily ones in Las Vegas illegally, are being killed without any clues to who or why. The reader gets the killer’s perspective, especially how much he hates the poor Mexicans, without knowing who it is until the end. Although it adds some suspense to the story, in a way it is a distraction to the what is really a story of Duffy’s adventures in Las Vegas – the Russian boxer, the Latino boxers he befriends, the relationships with the brothel prostitutes and of course his usual friends who are there primarily for humor and to help him out when he gets in trouble.

I picked up a copy of this book as part of my book bag at Bouchercon this year in Albany. Tom Schreck lives in the Albany area and this series typically takes place there, so it made sense that they would give out a lot of these books. Unfortunately,  I didn’t get a chance to meet Schreck or attend the panel he was on.

I’ve never read any of the other books in this series of which this is the fourth; I certainly did not have any trouble following along with the story. I’m sure I would have picked up a little bit more on Duffy’s friends and how and why they acted the way they did and maybe had a better understanding of Duffy’s interests, but I didn’t feel slighted. I will, however, read some of the prior books in the series as I really enjoyed Duffy Dombrowski, Schreck’s style and all the various new and recurring characters in this book. Of course, this book and presumably all the books in the series are based a lot on boxing and that may be a turnoff for some readers. However, with Tom Schreck being a world championship boxing official, he’s very qualified and is certainly writing about something he knows well. He also provides the accurate detail without boring even those who have no interest in boxing.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-0from 108 readers
PUBLISHER: Thomas & Mercer (May 15, 2012)
REVIEWER: Check Barksdale
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Official website for Tom Schreck
EXTRAS: Excerpt

More as Vegas fun:


Duffy Dombrowski – Ghetto Social Worker:


TJ Dunn:



December 26, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Drift-of-Life, Humorous, Sleuths Series, US Southwest

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