Sangre en el desierto: Las muertas de Juárez
This winner of the 2005 Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Mystery is now available in a new Spanish translation.
by Alicia Gaspar de Alba
Publication Date: September 30, 2008
Format: Trade Paperback
It’s the summer of 1998 and for five years over a hundred mangled and desecrated bodies have been found dumped in 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 on 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 is a gripping thriller that ponders the effects of patriarchy, gender identity, border culture, transnationalism, and globalization on an international crisis.
“Offering a powerful depiction of social justice and serial murder on the U.S.-Mexican border, this is an essential purchase for both mystery and Hispanic fiction collections.” ―Library Journal (Starred Review)
“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
ALICIA GASPAR DE ALABA 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.
ROSARIO SANMIGUEL, a native of Manuel Benavides, Chihuahua, Mexico, is the author of a collection of stories, Under the Bridge: Stories from the Border / Bajo el puente: Relatos desde la frontera (Arte Público Press, 2008), a novel Árboles o apuntes de viaje (PuenteLibre Editores, 2006), and a collection of stories, Callejón Sucre y otros relatos (Ediciones del Azar, 1994). Her work has been published in several anthologies and magazines, including Sin límites imaginarios. Cuentos del norte de México (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2006). She is the recipient of grants from the Rockefeller Foundation grant and Mexico’s Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes. She lives and works in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.