Advanced Search Module


Close Search

The Name of Death (O nome da morte)



Original Language: Portuguese | 248 pp. | 2006/2017

2 Seas Represents: Dutch, World English and Nordic Rights.

Rights sold: Germany (Transit), France (Metaillé, at auction), Poland (Muza, in a pre-empt), Spain (Península/Planeta), USA (Seven Stories Press, WEL), Australia/NZ (Allen & Unwin), English Audio (Blackstone), Turkey (Alakarga), Portugal (Presença, at auction)

full English, French and German translations available.

Movie adaptation screened in October 2017, commercially released in 2018. Production by Fernando Meirelles (director of City of God and the opening of Brazilian Olympic games), direction by Henrique Goldman.


Klester Cavalcanti is a thoroughbred journalist with a Capotean gift of transforming hard-news into high quality literature. On THE NAME OF DEATH, he confirms this talent giving us a shocking and surprisingly real narrative. – Wagner Moura (Narcos and Elite Squad actor)

THE NAME OF DEATH is among the very best non-fiction literature in the world. The experience of reading it is equal to immersing in an excellent novel. Klester creates vivid pictures, builds real landscapes and inserts the reader into the mind of someone we should consider a monster: a hit-man. Then, suddenly, we see ourselves wanting the killer Julio Santana to escape his pursuers. – Fernando Meirelles (filmmaker, director of City of God)

With a sensitive and emotional personality, perfect marksmanship and faith in God’s forgiveness, Julio Santana, THE NAME OF DEATH protagonist, faced his fears, dispelled his doubts and dared to see beyond his modest horizon to earn his bread killing almost 500 people all around Brazil. In this book, Klester Cavalcanti reveals how sometimes reality creates characters who are more complex than those from the most daring fiction. – Braulio Mantovani (City of God and Elite Squad scriptwriter)

For 35 years The Name of Death was Julio Santana, a Brazilian contract killer. Klester Cavalcanti doggedly pursued Santana for several years in order to tell his gruesome story, a terrible tale that chronicles the seduction of a 17-year-old Amazonian jungle kid into a lifetime of grotesquerie that did not end until he had murdered 492 people, leaving him to endure a denouement consumed by bad dreams Dante might have conjured and James Ellroy deconstructed. —Barry Gifford

A rare and very personal look at how a good, religious boy became a monstrous professional assassin. A fascinating page-turner that will keep you reading late into the night. —Catherine Pelonero, New York Times bestselling author of Kitty Genovese and Absolute Madness

After killing, Júlio Santana says ten Hail Marys and twenty Lord’s Prayers to ask God for forgiveness. He’s afraid of ending up in hell. Without ideologies, Júlio kills because that’s his job. A profession he learned in his family, from his uncle Cicero, who gave him a “job” when he was just 17. Over his 35-year career, Júlio has killed exactly 492 people, keeping a record of all his “jobs” in a notepad whose cover has an image of Donald Duck. In this portrayal of the intriguing character’s life, journalist and writer Klester Cavalcanti makes the killer breathe and haunt the reader with his coldness. In The Name of Death all the characters are real and have their real names revealed, especially Júlio Santana, whose dramas, dreams, passions and weaknesses also appear in the story. The reader learns that the same individual who makes a living taking the lives of other people is a good son, a loving father and a faithful and loving husband.

And all this in a trajectory that is indistinguishable from that of Brazil’s, through two important episodes in the country’s recent history: the Araguaia Guerrilla Movement and the mining of Serra Pelada. For the first time, a hitman shows his face and tells his life story. More than a condemnation of impunity and an uncovering of the workings of the Brazilian machine, The Name of Death tells the amazing story of a boy who could have become a fisherman – like his father and his grandfather – but who has become the biggest professional killer known to the world.




Australia/NZ (Allen & Unwin), USA (Seven Stories Press)