Lost and Found

Fiction - Crime
292 Pages
Reviewed on 08/15/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Vernita Naylor for Readers' Favorite

Lost and Found is a compelling crime novel written by Ronald L. Ruiz. Abel Mendoza is looking for a new life as a lawyer. He felt that he could make a good living, but he also wanted to make a difference in the Mexican/Chicano community. He firmly believed that the Mexican/Chicano community would rally around him and seek his services immediately. Why wouldn't they - he was of the same culture and represented them - but little did he know he would have to work extremely hard to earn their trust. As Mendoza began to embark on this journey, he learned a lot about himself, the justice system, and the community that he thought he knew. Things took a turn for the surreal when he was asked to defend 17-year-old Jaime Valenzuela. How would he proceed with his first murder case? What if he failed? How would that impact the community that he wanted and needed to serve?

Suspenseful. Intriguing. Genius. Words of epic proportion are how I would describe Lost and Found. Ronald L. Ruiz carefully balanced the elements of culture, stereotypes, history, and storytelling in the development of this book. Playing out like a blockbuster movie, each scene held my attention as Abel navigated his life in connection with others and learned more and more about himself and his own biases. As the story evolved, the image and personality of each character within the book shone through, showing us that we still have a long way to go with discrimination, racism, sexism, and how black and brown people are being treated and seen. Or should I say not seen? Throughout this story, Ronald presented so many parallels and nuances of poor neighborhoods, street life, perspectives, and a paradigm shift of change with an impact so powerful that it makes you pause and reflect on what you've just read. I was in awe to discover the voice of transparency and rawness as seen through the author's eyes. Lost and Found is strongly recommended if you're looking for an outstanding level of passion, decisions, consequences, and risks. Enjoy!

K.C. Finn

Lost and Found is a work of fiction in the crime and suspense subgenres. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author Ronald L. Ruiz. The book follows the experiences of Abel Mendoza, a Mexican lawyer working in 1960s California. Having worked his whole life to gain a position of respect and trust, he finds his hard work ruined - and the community he worked so hard to be accepted in rejecting him - after his personal life interferes with his work life. Using the time to reflect on why he wanted to be respected so badly, and assessing who he really is, Abel goes on a vacation that will change his life forever.

Lost and Found is a very insightful examination of race relations in the USA, particularly in the middle of the 20th century. Although Abel is a fictional character, Ronald L. Ruiz’s ability to bring him to life on the page decisively places him in a situation that will be bitterly familiar to many people today. This makes Abel feel like a real, organic human being, trying to understand his place in the universe. The portrayal of his expulsion from the community he so desperately wanted to be part of was masterful because of its lack of explosiveness. Instead, the growing suspicion and apprehension directed at Abel, the former friends no longer meeting his eyes, the clout he had built up being ebbed away from him all made his downfall tragically beautiful to read. Lost and Found is a brilliant examination of the experience of a POC wanting to be treated with the same respect as his white peers and the reflection of where that desire comes from. I would highly recommend Lost and Found to all adult readers.

Jennifer Ibiam

Abel Mendoza taught in a Los Angeles high school but always had the desire to become a lawyer. So while he taught, he attended night school to study law. Upon graduating and practicing, he realized the journey wasn’t as smooth as he predicted. He was Mexican-American, subject to racism, but as a lawyer, the racism and prejudices were intensified. Mexicans were just not prestigious enough to be lawyers, but only impoverished laborers and gangsters, they said. But Abel pushed to achieve his dream. However, a lie threatened to steal the respect he had gained from his community and ruin his law practice. Abel had to fight back. He could deal with hate from the Americans, but not from his kin. Lost and Found by Ronald L. Ruiz gives the full details.

Lost and Found by Ronald L. Ruiz is a touching story that looks at America from the 1960s to the 1970s. It talks about the plight of Mexicans in a society that stifled them. The plot was interesting, revolving around Abel and his quest to be more. I loved the storyline and its focus on societal conditioning, construction, and limiting mental prisons. It showed how such terrible racism affects the mind, both in negative and positive senses. I also saw a shift occur across generations, where the former accepted their fate and the latter fought it how they knew best. Jaime and Abel were prime examples of the latter. Ronald is a talented storyteller who created balanced and realistic scenes within his story. I loved reading this beautiful novel.