By day, Duffy Dombrowski is an upstate New York social worker, but he’s also a professional sparring partner, a boxer paid to be hit. He’s accepted a dream job: chief sparring partner for Russian heavyweight contender Boris Rusakov - in Las Vegas! He gets to bring along his obstinate basset hound, Al, and even invites four friends to visit. But Las Vegas - and Boris - has a dark side, and before Duffy knows it, his trip turns into a nightmare.
Staying in a local brothel and exploring Vegas in his off-hours, Duffy is treated like a piece of meat by Boris’s Russian mafia backers but befriends a crew of Mexican boxers at the gym. When Duffy saves one of their sisters, a maid at the brothel, from being auctioned like chattel into Boris’s clutches, a fistfight ensues, and Duffy inadvertently triumphs, leaving Boris dead. Meanwhile, someone’s killing local Mexican workers, friends and relatives of Duffy’s gym buddies. With Boris dead and the Russian mafia chasing him, Duffy gets lucky and finds a surprising source to help him secure a fighter’s chance of coming out alive.
Quirky characters, rapid-fire dialogue, and nonstop action propel The Vegas Knockout into the sphere of gritty thrillers that hit with astonishing power.
This is my first Duffy book, and I liked it. I enjoyed the humor and the fast pace, although I definitely would have liked more of Al, the basset. I thought parts of it were not as interesting as others, but overall it was a fun book. I particularly enjoyed his attitude towards his boss and his "creative" solution for not attending a mandatory training class - I mean, come on, who hasn't fantasized about pulling stunt like that at your job?!?
The performance was good. The narrator's NY accent definitely adds something to the character's personality.