Byron Resident and KC Faculty Member Releases Novel

By: From Kishwaukee College
By: From Kishwaukee College

BYRON (KC) -- Kishwaukee College English instructor and mystery writer John Desjarlais’ latest novel, Viper, will be released by Sophia Institute Press on July 1. Viper is currently available for pre-order on

Viper is the exciting sequel to Desjarlais’ 2009 murder mystery Bleeder, and is marked by the return of Latina insurance agent Selena De La Cruz. Like its predecessor, Viper takes place in the colorful small-town settings of fictitious “Sinnissippi County” of northern Illinois where De La Cruz finds her own name last on a list set down in her church’s Book of the Dead on All Soul’s Day. One by one the people on the list are murdered in order, with each murder immediately occurring after a local visionary sees a mysterious woman known as ‘The Blue Lady.’ De La Cruz sets out to solve the mystery before she becomes the next and final victim. Working against time, prejudice, and her own Latino community’s suspicions, she reluctantly re-joins her old DEA colleagues to hunt the killer and solve the mystery of ‘The Blue Lady.’
In addition to murder, Viper like Bleeder, expertly weaves religious imagery and symbols through the story and explores issues of immigration and bi-cultural identity against a rich backdrop of Aztec mythology and Mexican Catholicism. “Viper strikes fast and sinks its teeth in you,” said Tony Perona, author of Second Advent and Angels Whisper. "Non-stop action, nail-biting suspense--and enough genuine compassion to warm the coldest heart,” said Jeanne M. Dams, author of the Dorothy Martin and Hilda Johansson mysteries.

A former producer with Wisconsin Public Radio, Desjarlais teaches journalism and English at Kishwaukee College. A member of The Academy of American Poets and Mystery Writers of America, Desjarlais is listed in Who’s Who in Entertainment and Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. His books—mysteries Viper and Bleeder, and historical novels The Throne of Tara and Relics-- are available at

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