Short Stories

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The Tombstone Race: Stories

José Skinner

A teenager accused of homicide finds little support from his family or community. A woman in a conservative town must find ways to protect her gay brother from their militaristic mother. A graduate student discovers that his research has been stolen, probably by the same street gang he has been studying. A former police officer, fired for shooting a deranged man, patrols his own neighborhood. Set in places as diverse as Fort Sumner, Taos, Chimayó, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Clovis, the fourteen stories in The Tombstone Race explore the surprising connections and disjunctions between rich and poor, urban and rural, old and new, ugly and beautiful. Based in part on the author’s experiences as a Spanish/English interpreter in the criminal courts of New Mexico, Skinner’s stories navigate the state’s changing cultures with humor and heart.


José Skinner is the author of Flight and Other Stories, a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and the former director of the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Texas–Pan American. He lives in Austin, Texas.


“José Skinner's long-awaited second collection measures up to, and indeed surpasses, his critically acclaimed debut Flight and Other Stories. . . . Such dazzling storytelling was worth the wait.”


Rigoberto González, NBC News Latino

“Skinner’s stories are smart and colloquial, conflicted and comical. . . . He doesn’t pull punches with roles and he allows the individuals he follows to roam outside the box of assumed roles.”


Austin American-Statesman

“New Mexico is fertile literary soil for José Skinner’s second story collection, The Tombstone Race. The fourteen stories explore society through the lens of ethnicity, class, friendship, family conflict, and generational friction. Believable, quirky characters, young and old, inhabit the stories.”


Albuquerque Journal

“Skinner allows his characters to speak in a language that is evocative, unsentimental, and empirical.”



“The authenticity of José Skinner’s experiences as a Spanish/English interpreter in the courtrooms of the Southwest hit harder than an NFL linebacker.”



“With verisimilitude, compassion, and a surprising amount of nobility, Skinner navigates the mean streets of New Mexico with cunning and grace.”


Kirkus Reviews

“These are New Mexico stories, but they belong to all of those who suffer in the hidden world of deprivation and desperation that much of America would rather not see. There is beauty in Skinner’s world, but it is not the easy beauty of green summer days along a blue river, but the honesty of looking a desperate person in the eye and finding humanity there.”


Colorado Review

5.5 x 8.5 in. 200 pages