When I first learned of the Catholic Writers Guild at their booth at the CMN Trade Show two years ago, this book was the first to catch my eye. We were strapped for cash, though, and have been so pretty much ever since. Anyway, at this year’s conference, John DesJarlais was practically (practically) giving away Bleeder and Viper, so I quickly picked up both and let him know I’d been waiting two years to read these books.
I was not disappointed.
Bleeder is the story of an agnostic philosopher, damaged both mentally and physically, who stumbles into the path of a reportedly stigmatic priest, himself a philosopher, reportedly a healer as well. When Father Ray dies during the Passion service on Good Friday, Reed, the main character, finds himself under suspicion of causing the priest’s death. I can’t give away too much, but Bleeder was one of the most satisfying books I’ve read in a long time. DesJarlais kept me guessing until almost the very end, teased me a bit along the way, but the payoff in the end was huge and well worth the read. It was a fast read that I will probably go back and read again, just to get all those little things I may have overlooked on the first mad dash to get to the end. It also scratched an itch I’d forgotten I had: the story was replete with references to Aristotle, which made this old theatre major very happy.
If there were six stars, I’d give them to Bleeder.