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John Santana Books In Order

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Publication Order of John Santana Books

White Tombs (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Black Minute (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bad Weeds Never Die (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bone Shadows (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death's Way (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Darkness Hunter (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Speak For The Dead (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Price Of Life (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
No Way To Die (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

The name John Santana refers to a series of novels written by Christopher Valen. The suspense novels tell the story of a detective operating out of St. Paul in Minnesota.

+The Story

The John Santana novels join a long list of series that feature detectives fighting crime in Minnesota. John Santana was born in Colombia. That is where he grew up. When he is first introduced in ‘White Tombs’, the first novel in the John Santana series, the detective’s past is a mystery; however, it is hinted at that Santana fled Colombia because his life was in danger.

Determined to put the dark cloud of his past behind him, he forged a new life in the United States, eventually becoming a competent police detective that solves crimes in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Santana is written to be the strong silent type. He typically only speaks when he has something to say. And his physical abilities are nothing to scoff at. Many an opponent that is foolish enough to come after him normally only ever encounters terror and pain.

In fact, it has been suggested by some readers that Santana is a little too competent. There’s nothing he cannot do once he puts his mind to it, and there’s very little he doesn’t know, though Christopher Valen makes an effort to explore his physical and mental flaws as the series progresses.

The John Santana series is fairly typical of the suspense/crime genres. Each book revolves around a difficult case, typically a murder. Santana is called upon to investigate and, in the process of collecting clues and interviewing witnesses, things spiral out of control.

Unexpected twists suddenly leap into the fro and Detective Santana is forced to take extreme measures to get to the truth. Like most detectives in fiction, Santana has a strong sense of justice, and once he catches the trail of the perpetrators of a crime, he doesn’t stop hunting them until justice is served.

While each new John Santana book focuses on a different case, the protagonist’s past in Colombia is ever present in the background, primarily because the actions Santana took in his home country left him exposed to the actions of killers and assassins.

These novels have been commended for the incredible amount of detail they inject into each story. Christopher Valen loves dissecting the minutiae of crime and giving his readers information that they can use to try and figure the mystery out even as the story progresses.

+The Author

Christopher Valen was an active child, always playing some sort of sport. His love for reading wasn’t ignited until he got his hands on a Hardy Boys novel and realized just how enticing and enthralling books could be.

It didn’t take the author long to realize that he wanted to spend his life writing. However, as college loomed, Valen found that, for all the joy that writing elicited from him, he also had a passion for teaching.

So after considering both journalism and teaching, the author decided to pursue a teaching career. He would go on to get an English degree and an M.A in Special Education.

After a short stint in the juvenile system, Valen eventually settled down as a college professor. Valen reads widely. He enjoys both fiction and nonfiction, though his passion always firmly lay in mysteries.

Christopher Valen imputes the writing career he eventually pursued to a course he took under the tutelage of Will Weaver. It changed his life and showed him what he could achieve as an author.

Valen’s bibliography primarily consists of mysteries. The author does a lot of research for his John Santana series. He has been known to engage with St. Paul Police officers in his efforts to understand the life and experience of pursuing detective work.

+White Tombs

Detective John Santana gets himself in a spot of trouble when he promises a widow that he won’t stop until he finds her husband’s killer. The husband in question was a prominent member of the Hispanic community in St. Paul.

And when Detective Santana begins his investigation, he doesn’t expect to encounter so many complications. But complications just keep bursting out of the woodwork, this including a sexually explicit photo, a plan by the police brass to boot Santana from his investigation and a partner whose alcoholism puts him on the wrong side of Internal Affairs.

If that wasn’t enough, Santana’s past comes back to haunt him.

The first book in the John Santana series introduces the large, silent detective to readers. Santana is fighting to stay ahead of the demons he left in Colombia. But his past just won’t stay buried, not with the killer that is determined to get him and the sister whose memory is never far from his mind.

In the midst of his personal turmoil, the moody detective takes on a case involving the death of a prominent Hispanic figure in St. Paul. Santana initially only has one murder on his hands. But when a potential suspect goes flying off his balcony, it occurs to Santana that there might be going on than meets the eye.

Unfortunately for Santana, his alcoholic partner is doing more harm to his case than he can afford. But Santana promised a widow that he would find her husband’s killer, and a few complications along the way will not stop him from fulfilling that promise.

+The Black Minute

Detective John Santana is a detective in St. Paul that isn’t happy to be saddled with a Hmong partner. But he has no choice in the matter, not after being assigned a case involving the murder of a Hmong woman.

The case should have been routine. But then political intrigue and the Vietnam War come into the picture. There’s a web of lies in play and Santana makes it his job to uncover it.

The second book in the John Santana series finds Santana struggling to solve the murder of a young woman called Mai. The book explores Santana’s relationship with Rita Gamboni, the police commander, not to mention the situation with his new partner Diana Lee.

Book Series In Order » Characters » John Santana

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