By David Steinberg

Felipe Espinosa doesn’t have the cachet of Billy the Kid, but Espinosa wreaked plenty of havoc on his own in the 19th century. In 1863, the El Rito, N.M., native went on a rampage, killing 32 Anglo men, mostly in central Colorado. Author Adam James Jones discusses these events in his newly published debut historical novel, “The Vendetta of Felipe Espinosa,” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9 at Op.cit books, 500 Montezuma, Santa Fe and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 4 at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW.

Jones’ novel is based on the life of Espinosa, a farmer, an outlaw and a zealous Mexican patriot who sought the return of land the United States controlled in the Southwest to Mexico.  A high-country manhunt led by scout Tom Tobin tracked down and killed Espinosa, according to Jones.

Almost everything known about him is in the book. The reason I novelized it was to step into his shoes and try to figure out his motivations or at least speculate upon them,” Jones said. He said he grew up on his family ranch near the town of Fairplay, Colo., where Espinosa had gunned down several  men.

The novel also incorporates aspects of New Mexico history during the American Civil War. Jones lives in Pecos, N.M., where he teaches English and coaches the wrestling team at Pecos Middle School.

Five Star published  the novel in November 2014. 

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