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An Unlikely (but loveable) Hero
on July 15, 2012
On The Ropes is the best first novel I've read in ages. If you like Crais, Robert B. Parker or Lee Child you'll love Tom Schreck's Duffy Dombrowski. Dombrowski wears his flaws like a facial tattoo; he drinks too much; shows nothing but contempt for faux authority figures like his overweight beaucratic boss. He's a semi-successful pro boxer, a professional "opponent" with a a record just attractive enough for him to get fights, but not so attractive as to scare away potential up and comers. His day job is social worker, constantly harangued about his lack of detailed paperwork by higher ups, Dombrrowski goes out of his way to avoid doing what he sees as useless makework.
It's the flaws that make this character in fact all the characters in this book shine. While the story is entertaining and with enough excitement and plot twist to keep those fans of Parker or Child happy, where Schreck really pulls ahead of the rest is in creating characters that seem to pop off the page. Anyone who has been around boxing (or worked in an office for that matter) will recognize and relate to the characters that people this book. However, the author manages to do this without making these recognizable folk into boring caricatured cliche's. His characters are three dimensional, funny and oh-so realistic.
On the Ropes is exciting and hilarious. I read this one in two sittings and am looking forward to reading Vegas Knockout right when I'm done with this review.