In a genre populated with strong women, Gaspar de Alba's Ivon Villa stands out as unforgettable. A visiting professor at an L.A. college, Ivon is smart, beautiful, and gay. She and her partner, Brigit, decide to adopt a baby from Mexico, and Ivon travels to her native El Paso to see the child. On the plane, she reads an article about the murdered bodies of more than 100 women found in the desert outside Juarez. The crime wave hits home when the mother of the baby she was to adopt becomes one of the victims. Then Ivon's little sister, Irene, goes missing after an evening in Juarez. With the help of her cousin and a nervous priest, Ivon desperately searches for Irene while dealing with their accusatory mother and corrupt border patrol officers. Gaspar de Alba not only crafts a suspenseful plot but tackles prejudice in many of its ugly forms: against gays, against Hispanics, against the poor. An in-your-face, no-holds-barred story full of brutality, graphic violence, and ultimately, redemption. Jenny McLarin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
From Library Journal
Ivon Villa, a women's studies professor who needs to finish her dissertation in order to keep her job, travels to her hometown of El Paso to arrange for an adoption for herself and her female lover. Just across the border, however, the pregnant Juarez factory worker who agreed to give up her baby becomes the latest victim in a long string of unsolved murders of Mexican women in the area. Ivon vows to get past the secrecy, coverups, and conspiracy surrounding the terror-inflicting murders while dealing with her mother's disapproval, her cousin's alcoholism, and a renegade priest's activism. Offering a powerful depiction of social injustice and serial murder on the U.S.-Mexican border, this is an essential purchase for both mystery and Hispanic fiction collections.
Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. All rights reserved.
ONLINE BOOK REVIEWS
Book Review by Rigoberto González (El Paso Times)
"Novel Explores Strings of Juarez Killings" by Elaine Ayala (San Antonio Express News)
"En el desierto corre sangre" by Laura Isensee (Rumbo) (en español)
Book Review by Patricia Trujillo (San Antonio Express-News)
Book Review by David Steinberg (Albuquerque Journal)
A report from the L.A. Times Festival of Books (by Ruben Moreno in Spanish in La Opinion)
Book Review by Alejandro Pérez (San Antonio Current)
Books To Watch Out For (scroll down to page 16)
Brand new review by Darla Baker from Americas.org
Review by Mary Sarber in SouthWest BookViews. Summer 2005.
Online Review. K.I.T. Blogspot. 2/9/2007 (Scroll down to middle of page)
PRAISE FOR Desert Blood: The Juárez Murders
"Gaspar de Alba brings a scholar's mind, a fine writer's sensitivity, and the open heart of her heritage. The result is a novel that takes your breath away, page after page, and grabs your heart."
--James Crumley, author of The Last Good Kiss
"Gripping, heart-wrenching, set against the tough, lacerating reality of border-town Ciudad Juarez ... Desert Blood is a mystery unlike any other ... Villa is the perfect match for the border itself. Brava!"
--Lucha Corpi, author of The Gloria Damasco Series
"Desert Blood is an intricately plotted and engaging mystery, but it is more than well-written entertainment. It is an important book that sheds light on the Juárez murders--the ongoing slaughter of young Mexican women in the border city of Juárez by persons unknown. Desert Blood weaves together its fictional tale and the known facts of these notorious crimes in a way that reveals the cultural and political attitudes that have allowed these murders to continue with the indifference--if not the outright complicity--of Mexican authorities. Bravo to Alicia Gaspar de Alba!
--Michael Nava, author of the Henry Rios mysteries
". . .a page-turner of frightening speed ... Let me say something loud and clear: Desert Blood: The Juárez Murders deserves the widest readership possible. In fact, copies of the novel should be delivered to the El Paso Police Department, La Migra, and the FBI with a post-it saying: 'mandatory reading."
--Helena María Viramontes, author of Under the Feet of Jesus
KPFA, "The Morning Show" (April 29, 2005) - San Francisco. Note: Search the show's archives for April 29th; my interview begins at 7:30.
KUHF, "The Front Row" (May 5, 2005) - Houston