A visionary neo-Western blend of magical realism, mystery, and horror, Valley of Shadows sheds light on the dark past of injustice, isolation, and suffering along the US-Mexico border.
Solitario Cisneros thought his life was over long ago. He lost his wife, his family, even his country in the late 1870s when the Rio Grande shifted course, stranding the Mexican town of Olvido on the Texas side of the border. He’d made his brooding peace with retiring his gun and badge, hiding out on his ranch, and communing with horses and ghosts. But when a gruesome string of murders and kidnappings ravages the town, pushing its volatile mix of Anglo, Mexican, and Apache settlers to the brink of self-destruction, he feels reluctantly compelled to confront both life, and the much more likely possibility of death, yet again.
As Solitario struggles to overcome not only the evil forces that threaten the town but also his own inner demons, he finds an unlikely source of inspiration and support in Onawa, a gifted and enchanting Apache-Mexican seer who champions his cause, daring him to open his heart and question his destiny.
As we follow Solitario and Onawa into the desert, we join them in facing haunting questions about the human condition that are as relevant today as they were back then: Can we rewrite our own history and shape our own future? What does it mean to belong to a place, or for a place to belong to a people? And, as lonely and defeated as we might feel, are we ever truly alone?
Through luminous prose and soul-searching reflections, Rudy Ruiz transports readers to a distant time and a remote place where the immortal forces of good and evil dance amidst the shadows of magic and mountains.
“Ruiz’s engaging tale, peppered generously with Spanish words and smoldering with racial tension and classism, is immersive and atmospheric and features an interesting cast of characters with rich backstories. Ruiz deftly combines elements of romance, historical mystery, horror, and magical realism to deliver a richly satisfying adventure.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Ruiz offers an engrossing blend of historical fiction, ghost story, and mystery…He employs elements of magic realism to haunting effect, and the depictions of human cruelty and injustice are unflinching…This has its rewards.” —Publishers Weekly
“Ruiz writes with the ache of the lonely and the audacity of the hopeful. His prose is unforgiving and his characters unrelenting. Valley of Shadows contains a sharpness of vision that is exceedingly rare; and through this tale of redemption and rediscovery, Ruiz certifies his voice—as well as his philosophy of togetherness—as a ferociously necessary addition to American letters.” —James Wade, award-winning author of All Things Left Wild
“Rudy Ruiz’s Valley of Shadows haunts with its trenchant historical accuracy woven dazzlingly with magical real elements that make this borderland Western horror leap off the page. Indeed, this powerful story wriggled into my heart and gut, like a snake seeking shelter in the scorched desert earth. Unsettling and uplifting, both. Filled with ghosts both literal and metaphorical in a desolate place overflowing with unforgettable characters whose stories are woven by a masterful storyteller, Ruiz’s Valley of Shadows is searing, incisive, and, at times, utterly terrifying.” —Jennifer Givhan, author of River Woman, River Demon
“Valley of Shadows captures readers in the sure grip of a frightening battle against premeditated evil. It explores the vicissitudes of the US-Mexico border. But most of all, it is an immersive story, introducing two of the most amazingly alive and complex characters who’ve ever joined forces in both the ‘real world’ and beyond.” —Sarah Cortez, author of The Carlucci Betrayal
Rudy Ruiz is an award-winning author. His novel, The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez, received two Gold Medals at the 2021 International Latino Book Awards. It was also a finalist for the Western Writers of America Silver Spur Award for Best Contemporary Novel. His short-story collection Seven for the Revolution captured four International Latino Book Awards, including the Mariposa Prize for Best First Book. In 2017, he garnered the Gulf Coast Prize in Fiction. A bilingual native of the US-Mexico border, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Harvard and now resides in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife and children. Visit his website at RudyRuiz.com.