Desert Blood: The Juárez Murders
An incisive mystery that delves into the violent deaths of young women plaguing the U.S. / Mexico border.
by Alicia Gaspar de Alba
Publication Date: March 31, 2005
Format: Trade Paperback
10 in stock
It’s the summer of 1998 and for five years over a hundred mangled and desecrated bodies have been found dumped on the Chihuahua desert outside of Juárez, México, just across the river from El Paso, Texas. The perpetrators of the ever-rising number of violent deaths target poor young women, terrifying inhabitants of both sides of the border.
El Paso native Ivon Villa has returned to her hometown to adopt the baby of Cecilia, a pregnant maquiladora worker in Juárez. When Cecilia turns up strangled and disemboweled in the desert, Ivon is thrown into the churning chaos of abuse and murder. Even as the rapes and killings of “girls from the south” continue—their tragic stories written in desert blood—a conspiracy covers up the crimes that implicate everyone from the Maquiladora Association to the Border Patrol.
When Ivon’s younger sister gets kidnapped in Juárez, Ivon knows that it’s up to her to find her sister, whatever it takes. Despite the sharp warnings she gets from family, friends, and nervous officials, Ivon’s investigation moves her deeper and deeper into the labyrinth of silence.
From acclaimed poet and prose-writer Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Desert Blood: The Juárez Murders is a gripping thriller that ponders the effects of patriarchy, gender identity, border culture, transnationalism, and globalization on an international crisis.
Learn more at aliciagaspardealba.net.
Winner, 2005 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Mystery
“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.”—Booklist
“Offering a powerful depiction of social injustice and serial murder on the US-Mexican border, this is an essential purchase for both mystery and Hispanic fiction collections.”—Library Journal
“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
“Gaspar de Alba brings a scholar’s mind, a fine writer’s sensitivity, and the open heart of heritage. The result is a novel that takes your breath away, page after page, and grabs your heart.”—James Crumley, author of The Final Country
ALICIA GASPAR DE ALBA is the author of various works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, among them a collection of poems and essays, La Llorona on the Longfellow Bridge: Poetry y Otras Movidas (Arte Público Press, 2003), and a historical novel Sor Juana’s Second Dream (University of New Mexico Press, 1999). She is also the editor of Velvet Barrios: Popular Culture and Chicana/o Sexualities (Palgrave / Macmillan, 2003). An Associate Professor of Chicana/o Studies and English at the University of California-Los Angeles, Gaspar de Alba is a native of the El Paso/Juárez border. She has been researching the crimes since 1998 and organized an international conference on the murders at UCLA in 2003.