Hispanic Heritage Month begins today and just as we are celebrating, so is Rudy Ruiz. We featured Ruiz’s The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez here at Fangirlish before, and now we’re happy to bring you an excerpt from his new novel, Valley the Shadows. The novel pays tribute to his family’s cultural background and puts a soul-stirring Latinx spin on three classic American genres: Western, Southern gothic and horror, and it’s the perfect read to celebrate the month.
Here’s the synopsis for the book:
A visionary neo-Western blend of magical realism, mystery, and horror, Valley of Shadows explores the dark past of injustice, isolation, and suffering along the US-Mexico border. Through luminous prose and introspective meditations, Ruiz sweeps readers away on a journey to another time and a remote place where the universally compelling forces of good and evil dance amidst the shadows of magic and mountains. You will ponder the most basic questions regarding the human condition: Is our destiny written for us? Can we rewrite our own history and future? As lonely as we might feel, are we ever truly alone? And, can love conquer all?
And here’s an excerpt so you can get a taste of what the novel is all about:
When Onawa stepped into the clearing behind the jailhouse, she spotted Solitario
standing at the fence, staring out toward the mountains to the north. Standing next to him, she followed his line of sight.
“I once knew a man who said mountains don’t have feelings,” Solitario said.
“I’m not sure I agree,” she replied.
He sighed. “Me neither.”
“I just think their emotions are buried deep and slow to surface.”
He nodded, squinting into the distance. “What will you do?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” he answered.
“Yes, you do. Just look inside yourself for the answer. That’s the advice my father gave me before we left to search for the boy.”
“Wearing the badge goes against everything I swore to myself I would never do again,” Solitario said. “That life is in my past.”
“Maybe it’s not a life, but a job,” Onawa pondered. “What if avoiding it is actually keeping you trapped in your past?”
He studied her.
“On the other hand,” she continued, “I don’t trust the Anglos. Why should you help
“You don’t do the right thing because it’s easy. You do it because it is right.”
“Is it right?”
“I owe it to Elias. I owe it to my goddaughter, Elena. And to the other children too. They are innocent. They know not of my troubles or our endless wars and our tangled histories.”
She suddenly saw him in a different light. It was as if the sun had shifted from behind a cloud. What drew her to him was not what she had always believed it to be. It was not how he looked or walked. It was not the Spanish he spoke, which reminded her of her mother and a side of her heritage she longed to know better. No, it was an unspoken compass within him, an invisible code he followed. “You remind me of my father,” Onawa revealed in that moment of realization, surprising even herself.
“I’m honored,” Solitario managed to respond.
“You will do what must be done, even if you don’t want to.”
Rudy Ruiz’s Valley of Shadows will be available September 20th, wherever books are sold.