by Manuel Ramos
Legend has it that Pancho Villa's grave was robbed—and his head stolen—in 1926. A gringo is credited with the theft, but Gus Corral's great-grandfather was there too. As often happens to Chicanos, his role was given short shrift. But the Corral family has taken care of the skull for as long as Gus can remember. It's a jolt when “Panchito” is stolen from his sister's house. It's the only connection to the old-timers of the family, so Gus knows he will have to get to the bottom of the disappearance, even if it means tangling with thieves and thugs.
A variety of characters—writers, attorneys, Vietnam vets, cops, soldiers—populate these stories in which situations frequently aren't what they seem. An old man knows more about the disappearance of a neighbor than he lets on. A barber is involved in something that brings a ski-mask wearing, gun-toting hoodlum into his shop. And a cop accused of using excessive force hasn't told his family the whole truth.
Many stories in this gripping collection feature Mexican Americans struggling with their circumstances as an ethnic minority in the United States. Others cover historical events, from the Mexican Revolution to an encounter with Jack Kerouac. All spotlight Ramos' artistry and dexterity as he shifts from noir to historical and even ficción rápida, or flash fiction. Spanning his acclaimed writing career, this volume includes Ramos' first story published in 1986, “White Devils and Cockroaches,” which features an attorney who served as the prototype for Luis Móntez, the protagonist in five of his award-winning novels.
The Skull of Pancho Villa and Other Stories
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
Publisher: Arte Publico Press
Publication date: 03/31/2015
- Fiction | Hispanic & Latino - Fiction | Literary - Mexican Americans
- Short stories - Interdisciplinary Studies | Hispanic/Latino Studies