A miracle?
bloody murder

a mystery
by john desjarlais

Chesterton Press



When classics professor Reed Stubblefield is disabled in a school shooting, he retreats to a rural Illinois cabin to recover and to write a book on Aristotle in peace. Oddly, in the chill of early March, the campgrounds and motels of tiny River  Falls  are filled with the ill and infirm -- all seeking the healing touch of the town’s new parish priest, reputed to be a stigmatic. Skeptical about religion since his wife’s death from leukemia, Reed is nevertheless drawn into a friendship with the cleric, Rev. Ray Boudreau, an amiable Aquinas scholar with a fine library --  who collapses and bleeds to death on Good Friday in front of horrified parishioners. A miracle? Or bloody murder? Once Reed becomes the prime 'person of interest' in the mysterious death, he seeks the truth with the help of an attractive local reporter and Aristotle’s logic before he is arrested or killed -- because not everyone in town wants this mystery solved...



"Pure enjoyment!"
Seattle Post Intelligencer

"Crisp and original...It keeps the reader trying to guess whodunit, just as a good mystery should; and, as the better representatives of its kind do, it also provides an ending of suspense and real surprise. Any fan of mysteries would enjoy this novel, but for those who also enjoy reading the prose of a master craftsman, I would recommend it even more highly."
St. Austin Review

"A truly entertaining mystery. Highly recommended."
Midwest Book Review

"Smart, frequently witty, and beautifully researched (the author’s paraphrasing of Aristotle’s logic is an intellectual delight), it is refreshing to read a book where faith is neither demanded, nor held up to ridicule."
Mystery Scene

"An intellectual mystery that will get your heart pumping, blood boiling and mind racing. Preconceived notions of bigotry, widowhood, and disability collide with Aristotelian philosophy, Catholicism, and modern day medicine in this very rich, very satisfying story."
The Rockford Review

"A complex plot, multi-issue characters and an amazing climax. Wonderful!"

The Catholic Company

"Inventive and excellently crafted...It brought tears to my eyes!"

Dappled Things

(click to see the full Dappled Things review)

"Unputdownable! Desjarlais is one of those rare writers who possesses the talent to conceive a good story, the skill to tell it artfully, and the knowledge to make it a fascinating read."
Tiber River Reviews


"I was absolutely floored! Go out and buy this book!"

Family and Faith LIVE

"This mystery grabbed me by the throat!"


"A delightful page-turner full of twists and appealing characters to make it a complete mystery thriller. Enthralling!"

"It's not often that you come across a book that captures your full attention on an emotional level, and challenges you intellectually and spiritually, too. Bleeder was such a book for me. Desjarlais presents the reader with a suspense-filled mystery that is difficult to put down. A gifted writer, Desjarlais captures the reader's attention from the very first page....Exciting and thought-provoking!"
St Anthony Messenger

(click here and scroll down for the full review)

"You'll love it!"
Bonnie Rodgers, CatholicTV


"An intriguing mystery."
Mostly Mystery Reviews

"Raises intriguing questions!"
Mystery Circle

"A page turner, suspenseful, highly entertaining...It keeps you thinking long after about intriguing mysteries in the book that are not solved."

"A surprising mystery-thriller with unexpected twists and turns, enlightened by selected bits of Aristotelian wisdom."

Tri-Parish Times, LA


"This is a wonderfully crafted mystery with several unexpected plot twists just when you think you've got things all figured out. The characters are engaging, the language beautifully descriptive. I had a hard time putting it down."

LH, Amazon.com reviewer

"Bleeder: A Mystery is medical conundrum, a puzzling whodunit, and an exploration of the mysteries of faith and love. I didn't want to stop reading it and finished it in a couple of long reading sessions. Highly recommended!"
Cheryl L, amazon.com reviewer

"Desjarlais' Dickensian love of setting frames the scenes, creating vivid, memorable places. A good read."
Nat'l Association of Independent Writers and Editors


"I just finished reading John Desjarlais' fascinating work of fiction, Bleeder. From the initial pages of the book through its great conclusion, this novel was action packed and quite thought provoking. This book is incredibly well written, and enhanced by the inclusion of quotations and teachings of Aristotle. The novel's Catholic setting is never heavy handed or preachy, but rather contributes to the richness of the story. I loved Bleeder and raced to the end to learn "whodunnit". Stunning writing! Strongly recommend this book to anyone looking for a great mystery!"

Lisa Hendey, CatholicMom.com

“This book found me staying up late, turning the pages as fast as I could!”

Sarah Reinhard, snoringscholar.com


 “Shocking! [You'll] say ‘What the ...’ and drop your jaw on the floor!”

B&N.com reviewer 

"Desjarlais is able to have his characters address deeply human issues in a manner that is in no sense heavy-handed or preachy. [BLEEDER is] a story that transcends any particular set of beliefs, and is a good mystery besides."


"An exciting read from the first page to its satisfying resolution. I found myself turning the pages quickly to see what would happen next. The story builds in a crescendo like a symphony--beginning with the muted strings of questions unanswered to the crashing cymbals of its exciting conclusion. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED."

Gerard Webster, author  of In-Sight

"A well-written, very interesting read -- the dialog scenes all stand out."
Sally Wright, author of the Ben Reese mysteries


"BLEEDER  is an intelligent, deftly written mystery that offers a skillful blend of reason and faith.  A fascinating tale."
Tom Grace, author of  The Secret Cardinal





Read an excerpt!

Purchase from https://saintjoe.com/products/bleeder-a-miracle-or-bloody-murder?taxon_id=202 or Amazon.com and the Amazon Kindle Store 


by John Desjarlais

ISBN: 978-1-933184-56-2

 Format: Paperback
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches

Page Count: 272

Price: $15


 For information on mystical stigmata, click here.

For information on the first stigmatic priest, Padre Pio, click here.

And don't miss the thrilling sequels: