Books by Jim DeFilippi

DUCK ALLEY by Jim DeFilippi
Released: Sept. 1, 1999

A second from DeFilippi has parallels with his considerably stronger Blood Sugar (1992), but too much in plot flies off with too little in substantive atmosphere or theme to act as ballast. Narrator Jay Tasti opens up with a ramble through plentifully familiar boyhood memories of growing up on Duck Alley, Long Island. Recalling the happy summertime of his youth in the "50s, Tasti summons Coke bottles, friendly drunks, fussy moms, baseball games on the radio and harmless pranks. Back then, see, Tasti was real tight with Albert Niklozak, and, man, did they do some crazy stuff. Well. Then comes the draft. Albert gets sent to Nam (and strangely never speaks of it), while Tasti stays comfy with a stateside role. Tasti muffles his mixed feelings, becomes a high-school teacher, and marries. Albert becomes a small-time hood dealing in fenced goods and prostitutes. As for his life in education, Tasti recalls, oh, if there only hadn't been Arlynn Svenson . . . . Arlynn, the cartoonishly drawn high-school sex siren with a troubled mind, finds teacher Tasti on the beach during a field trip, bares her breasts to him, and actually says "jiggle, jiggle." Though Tasti takes a hundred pages to not touch her breasts, Arlynn, while literally flopping around in the hall and driving everyone nuts, claims Tasti got her pregnant. Blow her off? Advise therapy? Nah, do the sensible thing, and get Albert to silence her. It seems Albert does what he's asked, gets caught, sent to jail, then killed in a knife fight. Only after all that does Tasti discover that Albert never murdered the girl—but held his tongue for the honor of friendship, which Tasti grieves to have forgotten. The depth of Tasti's spiritual agony is doubtless meant to be profound, but the story just doesn—t make it real, with the result that the profound and the inane are at loggerheads. Read full book review >
BLOOD SUGAR by Jim DeFilippi
Released: Aug. 5, 1992

Revived adolescent passion triggers the downfall of a Long Island policeman who's been walking the straight and narrow for 30 years. Homicide detective Joe LaLuna's careful climb to the top levels of his suburban New York police department begins to derail with the death of wealthy businessman and cocaine aficionado Milton Wright, the husband of LaLuna's high-school sweetheart Audrey. Milt expired in the absence of his wife but in the presence of an automatic milking machine that he had put to uses for which the machine was by no means intended. It takes dipsomaniac medical- examiner Sharon Slabb, who has a bit of a crush on Joe, two autopsies to prove that Mr. Wright's death, while not the result of a dairy accident, was still not natural. Someone injected Milt's eyeball with an overdose of insulin. Joe's questioning of the suspects begins with Audrey, who is every bit as beautiful as she was decades ago. The detective, whose marriage to a sad, unlovely creature has been of exemplary faithfulness, is unable to resist the revival of youthful lust—to the disgust of his longtime partner, Winky Dink Hraska, and the detriment of his investigation. At the very moment Joe and Audrey reconnect, Joe's wife is found dead. The detective becomes the prime suspect. A first novel and a good one. DeFilippi, who spent four years in the military police corps, serves up suburban police procedures with style. Read full book review >