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The Ballad of Rocky Ruiz Hardcover – July, 1993

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 201 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; First Edition edition (July 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312092717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312092719
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,995,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

Twenty years after four Chicano campus activists were attacked by a masked gang along a lonely road outside town and their leader, Rocky Ruiz, was shot down, the survivors begin to feel the heat. Tough- talking Tino Pacheco is killed; community center leader Orlie Martinez is beaten; and Judge Hector Garcia goes into hiding. Luis Montez, another friend who left early on the fatal night, now finds his own life on the rocks. His ex-wife is touching him for money he doesn't have; his crummy clients are beginning to turn up their noses at him; and when one of them, enormous Donna Armstrong, enlivens her eviction proceedings by attacking her landlord, the Denver disciplinary committee gets on Luis's case. The only bright spot in his life is impossibly young Teresa Fuentes, who's so determined not to get involved with him that she takes off with surly Detective Philip Coangelo on her tail, determined to tie her into the killings. A thickly atmospheric first novel--with just enough mystery to hold together a powerfully elegiac memoir of the heady early days of Chicano activism. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.


"A very impressive debut." --Los Angeles Times

"That rare mystery novel that delivers both suspense and a vivid glimpse of a culture often overlooked by the genre. An impressive, accomplished novel." --El Mundo Latino

"You know, Luis, you remind me of Easy Rawlins. . . . Your first case is a seamless blend of politics and plot, with a tone of wry humor throughout. It's nice to get to know you: You're a rare and lovable spirit." --San Francisco Review of Books
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Olivas on July 15, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Though I'm not one for buying up every new mystery novel that comes out each year, I had a particular interest in "The Ballad of Rocky Ruiz" by Manuel Ramos because, as with Ramos, I am an attorney, a Chicano and a fiction writer. Well, I wasn't disappointed. Because this is a mystery with a fine, surprising ending, let me just say that I enjoyed the voice of the hardened, divorced, booze-loving protagonist, Luis Montez, a solo practitioner who finds his old friends from El Movimiento - the Chicano political movement - dying all around him. Throw in a beautiful, mysterious Chicana and things really start hopping. This short, tight novel will keep you guessing until the last pages. I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
While taking place in about 1990, the plot has as its foundation in an 1970 murder. The characters are former campus activists who have left Texas to make their lives in Denver. 60's campus activism is difficult to portray in fiction. Not many try.

The plot works, but almost everything associated with "Teresa" from her mother's attitude towards her seeing Luis to the way she went about her mission in Denver is pretty farfetched.

I liked some of the peripheral scenes better than some of the main story scenes -for instance, the portraits of Luis Montez with his family, "the Shark" and the nuances of his disciplinary hearing.

While neither is pivotal to the story, I would have liked a more development of Rocky (he successfully made the kind of changes which today are so embedded that how they happened is forgotten) and ... something of Teresa's birth father, whom I kept expecting to be one of the college activist group.

All in all, this is a good light mystery, and for readers not part of the Chicano community, a brief acquaintance with it.
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More About the Author

Manuel Ramos is a retired attorney and the author of eight published novels, five of which feature Denver lawyer Luis Móntez. For his professional and community service he has received the Colorado Bar Association's Jacob V. Schaetzel Award, the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association's Chris Miranda Award, the Spirit of Tlatelolco Award, and others. His fiction has garnered the Colorado Book Award, the Chicano/Latino Literary Award, the Top Hand Award from the Colorado Authors League, and three Honorable Mentions from the Latino International Book Awards. The Móntez series debuted with The Ballad of Rocky Ruiz (1993), a finalist for the Edgar® award from the Mystery Writers of America and winner of a Colorado Book Award for Best Fiction. His published works include the mainstream novel King of the Chicanos (2010), several short stories, poems, non-fiction articles and a handbook on Colorado landlord-tenant law, now in a sixth edition. He is a co-founder of and regular contributor to La Bloga (, an award-winning Internet magazine devoted to Latino literature, culture, news, and opinion. His latest novel, Desperado: A Mile High Noir (Arte Público Press) won the 2014 Colorado Book Award for Best Mystery.

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