Best-selling author of Chicano noir crime fiction. Two-time winner of the Colorado Book Award. Edgar© finalist. International Latino Book Awards Honorable Mentions.
Ramos succeeds brilliantly in marrying style and substance.
Ramos puts Latinos back in the picture. He is known as a crime writer, but that doesn't capture what he does. His books are love stories, political dramas, mordant cautionary tales. Characters who are Latino, black and white, artists, professionals and laborers, are described in staccato chapters, like a catchy corrido.
The Los Angeles Times
The Golden Havana Night: A Sherlock Homie Mystery
The latest Gus Corral adventure takes the Northside homeboy to Cuba and back to Denver in a story that Kirkus Reviews called "gripping" with a hero who is "hard to resist."
"You can't help but love a book that's subtitled A Sherlock Homie Mystery, which suggests another Gus Corral book may be in the works. That's good news, because The Golden Havana Night cries out for a sequel."
The Denver Post
"Ramos' metaphoric reflections on who and how we see one another, through language, through health communication, through aging, make interesting divagations from the crime and travel literature mission of the novel, but add immeasurably to the storytelling essential of the detective novel. The Golden Havana Night has everything a reader looks for. Except an ending And that's what, when all gets said and the last page done, makes this Sherlock Homie novel a real kick in the head."
My Bad: A Mile High Noir
"Manuel Ramos is one of my all time favorite authors and in My Bad he delivers everything I look for in a noir tale. Gus Corral is the guy I want on my side if I'm in trouble and Ramos proves once again he is the master of creating great characters. Clear your schedule and be prepared to read this blitz attack of noir in one sitting."
Jon Jordan - editor/publisher Crimespree magazine
"One thing is almost as certain as death and corruption: Manuel Ramos's Chicano angst. You'll find plenty of all three in his jazzy, fast-paced, and delirious whodunits, which stand as an unparalleled achievement in American crime literature."
"My Bad is arguably Ramos’ finest novel. ... Ramos brings to life the old Northside, its culture, its people, its music and color. This is all authentic stuff. Ramos writes about North Denver better than anybody. My Bad is a fine mystery with an unexpected ending, but it is also a view by an insider into the life of one of Denver’s unique neighborhoods that may one day disappear."
Sandra Dallas in The Denver Post.
"The plot thickens like a slow-simmering pot of pozole. There’s a growing dread like those heart-pounding episodes in Breaking Bad when Tuco Salamanca’s cousins were headed north to hunt down Walter White and avenge Tuco’s death. The contrast in characters is vivid. Gus is eager to do the right thing, to shed his old skin as troublemaker, a banger. Luis knows the end of his career is coming, but doesn’t know what’s next. He’s looking ahead, a bit anxiously, and taking in the fast-changing city with a touch of nostalgia."
Mark Stevens for the New York Journal of Books
"Not having a copy is the only reason a reader wouldn’t immediately devour this instant noir classic from razanoir master Manuel Ramos. My Bad: A Mile High Noir has everything readers seek in a novel: connections, action, irony, danger, wonderfully drawn characters. ... As with all of Manuel Ramos’ gems, the Móntez series and the superb Moony’s Road to Hell, the characters scintillate with interest with a depth unexpected when having so much fun. The dynamic between old and young undergirds this story to add a wonderful dimension to the novel, a kind of Sailing to Byzantium sense of hope, futility, and regret."
Michael Sedano for La Bloga
"With surprises galore, action and plot twists, and even a little pop music history in every chapter, plus a stunning denouement you’ll never see coming, My Bad is great crime fiction and entertaining reading."
The Mysterious Book Report
"Ramos vividly and affectionately portrays the Mile High City's Mexican-American heritage and culture."
"Another riveting read from an impressively gifted novelist of the first order, Manuel Ramos' My Bad: A Mile High Noir is consistently compelling and highly recommended. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that My Bad: A Mile High Noir is also available in a Kindle format."
Midwest Book Review
The Skull of Pancho Villa and Other Stories
"The Godfather of Chicano noir hits us hard with this collection. Great range, dark visions, and lots of mojo – much of it bad to the bone. A fine book!"
Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Into the Beautiful North
"Somewhere down a dark alley, a blinding freeway, or sitting at a splintered table in a public park, sits one of Manuel Ramos’ heroes. He is a disbarred lawyer, a defrocked priest, or a desperate woman. Ramos, a lawyer in some former life, tells stories of the street in an unmistakably noir style. He has heard it all, and his characters act it out. Sometimes, justice is achieved. Other times, not. Ramos sings pochismo jazz."
Kathleen Alcalá, author of Spirits of the Ordinary
"Ramos's stories are thought-provoking and unpredictable. A dead pan wit, filled with self-awareness but never self-pity. ... [T]here are inspired moments of ... sardonic humor. ... Ramos excels at the evocative summary of a lifetime of experience in pithy lines ... . Many of Ramos's stories linger long after they end; and often they contain depth charges that explode in the reader's mind after the story has ended ... . Start with this collection and you will find Manuel Ramos and his stories belong on your book shelves."
Désirée Zamorano in The Los Angeles Review of Books
"Ramos is a master at creating atmosphere, especially a 1940s private-eye feel, moodily cinematic in black and white and more than 50 gritty shades of gray. You can almost hear Bogie growl at the end of No Hablo Inglés: 'When it snows, my shoulder aches, and I smell copal and marigolds.' And what could be more Guy Noir in flavor than the first sentence of When the Air Conditioner Quit: 'When the air conditioner quit, Torres shot it.' This collection is uneven, but that’s not surprising in a literary retrospective that represents a considerable body of work from its beginning through its coming of age as Ramos becomes a master storyteller. He tells the stories of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, their lives often complicated by prejudice, just doing the best they can in los Estados Unidos."
High Country News
"The stories are clever and sometimes funny, but their real strength is the way they capture today's Latinos — the talk and humor, the swagger and irony. The stories bring to life the contemporary culture of north Denver, the Southwest and Mexico. Ramos has a rich voice. He nails it."
Sandra Dallas in The Denver Post
"There are love stories, hate stories, stories about systemic abuse of people in general and Mexican Americans in particular, and stories of hopes both fulfilled and dashed, sometimes all at once. While these are short stories, they do not fall short of offering full immersions into Ramos' inspired take on characters and their worlds."
PRAISE FOR DESPERADO: A MILE HIGH NOIR
Colorado Book Award for Best Mystery
"Manuel Ramos is to North Denver what Walter Mosley is to Los Angeles. Desperado: A Mile High Noir is a dark and gritty novel set in Denver's North Side that could have been written only by someone who's been there. Here is a story of race and loyalty, of bonds of friendship as strong as family ties, of gangs, of a way of life disrupted by gentrification. There are trendy cappuccino outlets that sit cheek-by-jowl with sleazy bars and tamale wagons and even Gaetano's restaurant. And it all comes together with the murder of a home boy. Desperado is a dark mix of North Denver gangsters and Catholicism, but it is Ramos' setting that really grips readers. Ramos gets it right."
Sandra Dallas review in the Denver Post
"The plot in this mile high noir unfolds in a reasonably straight-forward manner until about the two-thirds mark, at which point the path forward becomes a little more twisted, adding several layers of complexity, all to the better. Relatively short at just 180 pages, it's an appropriate length for what turns out to be a really good crime novel. Our rating: 4 of 5 stars."
"First-person point of view can be as invigorating as a dip in a Rocky Mountain stream. Read enough bloated thrillers with unnecessarily intricate narratives alternating between multiple characters and plots, and sitting down with a flawed-but-honest guy like Gus is a welcome change, indeed. ... But first-person narrators are also notoriously unreliable. ... If you are able to guess the truth, then you're more clever than me."
For the latest about all types of crime fiction, visit the Mysterious Book Report. Click here.
Nice article in the North Denver Tribune about My Bad, the Northside, Chicano Noir. Click here.