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Desert Blood: The Juarez Murders Hardcover – March 31, 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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 the Inside Flap

Advance 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

". . .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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 346 pages
  • Publisher: Arte Publico Pr (March 31, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558854460
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558854468
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #455,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A HUGE fan of Gaspar de Alba's earlier historical fiction, and an ardent admirer of her writing style, I was excited to find that she'd penned a new novel! -- yet, even so, for some inexplicably incomprehensible reason (I wasn't in the mood for gory violence? Mysteries are not my genre of choice?), I picked this book up several times - only to put it back down, before -- finally giving in to a closer look -- and, that was all it took!! Once I got through the first few pages, I couldn't put it down! It's true that the sometimes graphic images crafted by the carefully chosen words of Gaspar de Alba's skilled writing are often hard to stomache (that's how good she is!) -- but then - so, too, must be the very real murders and mutilations that her book fictionalizes. I commend Gaspar de Alba for her effort/s at spreading the word/s .... and .... give her "mil gracias" for the very affable creation of her "tough yet tender," "gender-bending," mapi-to-be, Yvonne-turned-Ivon. ; )
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Format: Hardcover
I initially was going to give this book three stars, but in all fairness, I was hooked and couldn't put it down.

The only problem I had with this book was the way it was written. I believe the author had a message to say, theories to give, and details to offer. She then constructed a story AROUND her facts, hoping they'd fit perfectly. The story is too coincidental and unlikely in some areas. The constant Spanish dialogue was sometimes translated in same sentence, which bugged me some. She would of been better off using footnotes, in my opinion.

The writing was a bit too simple for me, but I can understand that maybe she wanted to reacher a wider audience.

The theories fascinated me though. That was what kept me turning the pages. I usually read a book in a few days, but I stayed up very late to finish this one. And I also felt satisfied when I got to the ending. Not the actual story's ending, but the way the author summed everything up in theory.

This fictional book was a vehicle to spread a horrible reality, and I am grateful. ---- Carolyn, 35, Native El Pasoan.
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Format: Hardcover
This book made the hair on my neck stand straight up! But I couldn't stop reading. The fact that it is fiction centered around real events made it even more horrifying and compelling. But even if the Juarez murders had not and were not taking place, this is still an incredible book. It's well written, the story riveting, and the characters (very important to me) are drawn with great reality. The protagonist, Ivon Villa, is a strong but flawed gay woman, fiercely loyal to her family in spite of her mother's hatefulness, and her iron will and determination make her a perfect vehicle for the non-fictional message of this book. BRAVO ALICIA!
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Format: Hardcover
This book read like a cheezy, mystery version of Rubyfruit Jungle--set on the border, Chicana style. It is overflowing with stereotype and is in need of serious editing. Despite its length, I read it in 2 days (for me not always a good sign) and was slightly shocked at how disappointed I felt because I have been a fan of Gaspar de Alba's thoughtful, theoretical work. I wonder what, if anything, this perfectly-resolved tale will do to shed light on the murdered women of Juarez, other than to detail the horror of the killings, which her readers are likely to already know.
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