Tom Schreck was the director of an inner city drug clinic; he’s a black belt and a world championship boxing official. As an author he created the Duffy Dombrowski Mysteries, a series Publishers Weekly called “A Knockout!” Follow Duffy, the not-so-social-worker, as he moonlights as a bad professional boxer, drinks with his collection of lovable loser friends and somehow tries to exert a measure of control over his adopted Black Muslim basset hound Al. All this while trying to right the wrongs forced upon his vulnerable caseload.
“On the Ropes” was a Lovey and Crimespree Magazine nominee for “Best First Mystery” and an IMBA Bestseller. Tom is featured in the Echelon anthology “Missing” and his next Duffy Mystery is due out sometime in 2009.
First of all I’m honored to be a guest of The Stiletto Gang.
Any assemblage of women under that banner has to be a fun group.
And here’s a dirty little secret about me—my wife likes me to pick out her heels for her. She finds it only somewhat disturbing that I know more about women’s shoes than she does, but she does like my taste: at least 3.5 inches, (preferably sling backs), patent leather, black or animal print and with an obnoxiously pointed toe. Something tells me that’s all I should say on this topic.
I write the Duffy Dombrowski Mystery series. Duffy is a low level social worker whose caseload includes crack whores, addicts, small-time crooks and various other members of society that you’d find if you looked under enough rocks. At night he moonlights as a bad professional boxer, taking any fight he can for the extra cash. He beats the really bad fighters and loses to the good ones.
He’s also been saddled with a rescued basset hound named Al who flunked out of the Nation of Islam’s security force due to his personal hygiene challenges. Al has raised disobedience to a new level, prefers to have Duffy wait on him, and has a tendency to make the surrounding air unbreathable. He also has an uncanny knack of showing up at the exact right time and has saved Duffy’s ass on more than one occasion.
So a counselor with a repulsive caseload whose main hobby is a sport that involves assaultive behavior and a pet whose main traits involve flatulence, drooling, and the destruction of household furniture…
Just what today’s female readership is longing for, right?
Well, I think they should for several key reasons.
Reason One: Duffy is sensitive without being all Phil Donohue about it. He’s a Robin Hood for the little guy but he’s no bleeding heart limousine liberal—he lives it everyday. He also knows a manipulative con artist exploiting the system when he sees one.
Reason Two: Duffy can kick ass and think. He isn’t violent for the fun of it -- except in the gym -- but when someone is abusing the vulnerable, Duffy knows it’s going to take more than reasoning to get it to stop. Sure, he usually takes time to think things through before he throws a punch…usually, depending on how the rest of his day went.
Reason Three: Duffy isn’t a cliché. Sure, he can fight but he gets beat, he can’t cook, he lives in a trailer, not a 52-foot houseboat, he’s a counselor not a shrink, and he knows nothing about the law, forensics or science. He’s real and he’s genuine.
In other words I think Duffy would make a great boyfriend to all those frustrated female protagonists out there. All the loser men who fear commitment and intimacy and all the limp wristed wimps that our favorite female sleuths have to put up with would be refreshed with Duff’s company.
That is, if they could stand the trailer, the drooling, farting hound and Duff’s penchant for Schlitz.
For an in-depth review of On the Ropes check out the following blog -