A 2013 CALA Award Finalist ("The Lilly")

Shortly before All Souls Day, Selena De La Cruz’s name is entered in her parish church's “Book of the Deceased.”

The problem is, she's not dead.

And someone thinks she should be.  

Is it "The Snake," a notorious drug dealer Selena helped to put in prison when she was a Special Agent with the DEA years ago? Or someone far, far more dangerous?

a mystery
the thrilling sequel to BLEEDER

by john desjarlais

in bookstores now or at Amazon.com

Haunted by the loss of her brother to drugs and a botched raid that ended her career with the DEA, insurance agent Selena De La Cruz hoped to start afresh in rural Illinois. But her gung-ho former boss needs her back to hunt “The Snake,” a dealer she helped arrest who is out of prison and systematically killing anyone who ever crossed him. His ‘hit list’, appended to a Catholic Church’s All Souls Day ‘Book of the Deceased,’ shows Selena’s name last. Working against time, small town prejudice and the suspicions of her own Latino community, Selena races to find The Snake before he reaches her name while a girl visionary claims a “Blue Lady” announces each killing in turn. Is it Our Lady of Guadalupe or, as others believe, the Aztec goddess of Death?

See the 30-second video trailer here:



The reviews are coming in...

"Entertaining and thrilling...a fascinating mystery and a fun read, with more substance than your average best-seller."
     St. Austin Review 


"I just couldn't put it down! More compelling than BLEEDER!"
     Regina Doman, author of The Shadow of the Bear and The Midnight Dancers

"Desjarlais keeps you guessing as the action accelerates faster than Selena De La Cruz’s souped-up vehicle. VIPER strikes fast and sinks its teeth in you. You won’t be able to put it down."
     Tony Perona, author of Second Advent


"Non-stop action, nail-biting suspense--and enough genuine compassion to warm the coldest heart. A winner, start to finish."
    Jeanne M. Dams, author of the Dorothy Martin and Hilda Johansson mysteries

"Viper, the sequel to Bleeder, is a fast paced, tension-filled thriller. Weaving together the many strands that make the work of Desjarlais distinctive, Viper does not fail to please those who like a book filled with suspense and action." 
     Mystericale Reviews

"Exciting stuff, this. The mystery hits several themes -- faith vs unbelief, insider status vs outsider exclusion (and how those edges cut both ways), justice vs retribution. I especially appreciated Selena's struggle to be an assertive, intelligent female in a culture that has traditionally valued a certain home-and-hearth-based passivity even as it produces strong women who buck that trend. But this book isn't just smart; it's also fast and edgy and laced with murderous tension. Read VIPER, and then do like I'm doing and go get BLEEDER, the first mystery novel by Desjarlais. Or better yet, do it the other way around. But don't miss these books!"
Tina Whittle, author of The Dangerous Edge of Things

"Smoothly written, logical and gripping...A worthwhile read, blending religious mystery with brutal modern crime."
   Criminal Minds at Work

"Compelling characters, an engaging plot and a 'can't put it down' vibe combine to make Viper another literary jewel from one of my favorite novelists John Desjarlais. Viper picks up where Desjarlais' hit Bleeder left off, and John's writing is better than ever. The cultural underpinnings that color Viper are rich, diverse and well researched, and its action and dialogue will have you instantly connecting with heroine Selena De La Cruz. Another winner for John Desjarlais!"
     Lisa M. Hendey, Founder of CatholicMom.com and author of A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms.


"Desjarlais handles the Hispanic aspect of the novel so expertly that I truly felt I knew Selena. Top notch – an intriguing mystery with great characters."


"Selena is an awe-inspiring Latina solver of mysteries in great shoes. I loved her instantly and I couldn't stop turning pages."
     Ann Margaret Lewis, author of Murder in the Vatican: The Sherlock Holmes Church Mysteries


"A don't miss it page turner that blends ancient Aztec mysticism, Catholic Mariology, and a good old-fashioned whodunit."
Mike Manno, author of Murder Most Holy

"VIPER delivers not just mystery and mayhem, but clashes of all
sizes and shapes -- between traditional and modern Hispanic cultures, Catholic and Aztec religions, male and female partners in law enforcement, visionaries and skeptics, romantic and hard-nosed lovers. Read it!"
Rae Stabosz, Pauline Media blogger

"Oh man! You're writing another one, right? And wow, THAT ENDING! I LOVED IT!"
     Sarah Reinhard, snoringscholar.com


"What I want from a novel is good storytelling and Desjarlais delivers."

     The Curt Jester

"Desjarlais has the uncanny ability to at once take you on a seat-belt-tightening suspenseful ride of your life, immerse you in another culture, and have you live in his character's skins--whether they're Aristotelian professors or Latina maidens--and all at the same time.
His story-line is fast moving and never predictable...like the twists and turns of a country road at high speeds. Be warned, though, if you pick up VIPER, you need to carve out a nice niche of time to finish it because--once you fall into the Viper's lair--you won't be able to crawl out."
Gerard Webster, author of In-Sight



John Desjarlais
ISBN: 978-1-933184-80-7
256 pages
5.5 x 8.5 trim


For more information on Our Lady of Guadalupe, click here.
For the Mexican holiday "The Day of the Dead", click here.
For the Aztec calendar click here.
For "Saint Death," click here.

Check out Selena's postings as John's guest blogger here.