Bleeder by John Desjarlais
Reviewed by Janice Campbell
A miracle? Or bloody murder?
I confess I’m a little squeamish, so although I was intrigued by the premise of this novel, it sat beside my chair for a few weeks before I decided to pick it up. Despite the liquidity of the title, I needn’t have worried. Bleeder by John Desjarlais a straightforward mystery, without an undue amount of gore.
Aristotle scholar Reed Stubblefield is recovering from a gunshot wound and the death of his wife. Camped out in his brother’s hunting cabin, he manages life with the help of Citizen Cane and a generous supply of prescription pain killers, but people keep steering him toward the stigmatic priest who is reputed to have healing powers. As he’s drawn into a budding relationship with a reporter, and a reluctant acquaintance with the priest, closely-integrated flashbacks offer glimpses of his love for his wife and provide insights into his character.
When the stigmatic priest drops dead during a Good Friday service, Reed finds himself a “person of interest” to the police. Together with reporter Casey Malone, he tries to discover the truth in time to save his reputation, and ultimately, his life. Author John Dejarlais’ Dickensian love of setting frames the scenes, creating vivid, memorable places.
Although the plot occasionally bogs down with too much medical detail for my taste, it is a good read, especially for readers who prefer a book that adheres to traditional values in romantic relationships. Bleeder was published under the Imagio Catholic Fiction imprint of Sophia Institute Press, and is available online at Amazon.com or SophiaInstitute.com.