Published works

Jesusita cover final  Available NOW at Amika Press, and at Amazon in paperback and for Kindle. Jesusita is the story of immigrants — legal and illegal — trying to survive in California in the years after World War II. Jesusita, alone and impoverished, struggles to keep her four young children together. Though she finds support from Padre Montes at St. Teresa’s Catholic Church, her faith won’t solve her problems, especially those with her daughter, Paulina. Far from home, Filipino laborers are denied by law any contact with white women. Angie, the young daughter of an illiterate and unmarried mother, knows only one way to make money. And Felix, abandoned by his mother and separated from his only brother, is placed in a foster home on an isolated ranch. The interrelated lives of these people provide a complex, sometimes violent, and often tragic image of American poverty within the nation’s postwar boom.

A Lawyer pic Available at Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. A memoir spanning over 30 years of Ruiz’s criminal law practice in California, A Lawyer examines the impact of race on his life and on five memorable cases.  One of only six Mexican-American lawyers in all of Northern California during his early years, he saw a transformation in the criminal justice system that will leave the reader wondering whether this was “progress.”

Happy Birthday Jesus pic Available at Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. A gripping novel of madness and despair now available in paperback and on Kindle. Happy Birthday Jesús chronicles the creation of a monster: Jesús Olivas, a Mexican American boy raised by his grandmother in northern California. In a society where survival of the fittest is the key, young Jesús Olivas’ shyness and sensitivity become a malleable and vulnerable disadvantage. Transformed into the perfect victim by his grandmother, a religious fanatic, and the teachings of his parish priest, Jesús is progressively abused and brutalized. At eighteen, he marks his coming of age with the savage rape of a prostitute, the only person who loved him, and an attack that maims the parish priest he both hated and feared. Jesús is sentenced to thirty years behind prison walls in what becomes a labyrinth of unending horrors. Publication Date: March 31, 2003.

Giuseppe Rocco pic Winner of the 1998 Premio Aztlán Award. Giuseppe Rocco is the story of an Italian immigrant who raises himself to a position of power in Northern California. Rocco’s loveless marriage to an Italian ‘countess’ gives him three sons, one of whom becomes involved with a Mexican woman who shows the same will-power and drive to bring herself and her family out of poverty as the old man. The struggles and understanding between Rocco and his daughter-in-law provide the ultimate tension of this dynastic melodrama. Publication Date: June 1998. Available in paperback at Amazon.

 Big Bear pic A challenging murder case tries a Mexican-American attorney’s practice in this legal thriller. “I didn’t kill her,” the accused says. Gabby Garcia has heard it all before. “Everything from outright lies to minimization, omissions and simple denials.” Garcia has all the cases he can handle, but a new case is about to grab his attention. In physician Dr. Alan Newsome, a man accused of killing his wife, Garcia sees the ultimate challenge in his long struggle for recognition and worth. Gabby Garcia has clawed his way out of a farm to work to become a lawyer for the poor and disenfranchised in San Jose, California, only to abandon them for the lure of bigger and better cases. Alienated and numb to the world around him, Garcia stumbles onto a life-altering murder case that demands that he find the internal strength to prevail. Publication Date: April 2003.Available in paperback. Available in paperback at Amazon.

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