Table of Contents

Spring 2009

From The Editor

Letter from Jack Getze

Short Stories

Patrick Whittaker


Anthony Rainone

Fall to Pieces

Phil Beloin

Late, After Dinner

Jake Nantz

Midnight on the Links

Stephen D. Rogers

Queen Anne's Lace

Mike Sheeter

Blue Fugazzi

David Moss

The Sleepy Pines Nursing Home

Fiona Kay Crawford

Successful Surgeon

Graham Powell

The Ins and Outs

John Towler

The Fall

Damien Seaman

Thursday Night Blowout

Matthew Acheson

Writing on the Wall


Sandra Ruttan with Russel D. McLean

Declan Burke with Brian McGilloway

Jim Napier with Phyllis Smallman

Brian Lindenmuth with Craig McDonald

Reviews by:

P.A. Brown

Mexican Heat

Gloria Feit

Friend of the Devil

Theodore Feit

Death Was in the Picture

A Beautiful Place to Die

Night and Day

Claire McManus

The Hanged Man

The Poisoner of Ptah

My Sister, My Love

The Cruelest Month

Jim Winter

Trigger City

The Fourth Victim


Bookspot Review Roundup

Book Excerpt

The Big O
by Declan Burke

Featured Article

Passing of the Torch - Celebrated crime novelist dies
by Jim Napier


Duffy Dombrowski is a social worker and a boxer. As a social worker, he's a better boxer, which is a problem when he's assigned to help Howard “Hacker” Reinhart. Howard has just been released from prison for killing a quarterback and two cheerleaders when he was in high school. Horrific as his crime was, Duffy can't really blame him. They tormented Howard to the point where he snapped.

Only now, the murders have started again. Howard calls, without leaving any contact info, pleading with Duffy for help. He claims he's being framed, and Duffy believes him. But Duffy has other problems. His officious boss hates him. His latest girlfriend is in therapy, which generally means she's dumping him. And he shares a small trailer with a vicious Muslim basset hound named Allah-King. Duffy calls him Al.

But life's not all bad. A suspension resulting directly from Duffy's defense of Howard Reinhart gives him more time to focus on his boxing career, which has taken on new life. Unfortunately, he also has a new protégé in Billy, a teenaged boy Duffy rescues from two abusive karate instructors. Billy has a habit of showing up at awkward times and calling the Elvis-loving Duffy “sir” a lot.

Duffy's not as hapless as he appears or paints himself. It's Duffy who first notices Howard, despite his past, is an unlikely murderer. He also notices a pattern that indicates a serial killer. The police think he's insane.

TKO is Tom Schreck's second Duffy Dombrowski novel. Comic and quirky, it owes much of its inspiration to The Rockford Files. Dombrowski even lives in a trailer, much like Rockford, and hangs out with a set of drunks at his favorite bar. The upstate New York setting keeps it close enough to The City for a few scenes, but is far enough into the wilds to give the story an odd, surreal small-town feel.

If I had one problem with the story, it was Al's acrobatics. For a doberman or a German shepherd, some of Al's moves are almost expected. For a basset, they're a bit hard to imagine. On the one hand, picturing an attack basset does cause a reader to pause. On the other hand...

Did I mention the story is surreal?

TKO is a comic take on the serial killer story.

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