Velvet Was the Night (Hardcover)
September 2021 Indie Next List
“From the author of Mexican Gothic comes a classic noir with a side of romance based on the Mexican government’s suppression of dissent in the ’60s and ’70s and the involvement of the CIA and KGB.”
— Rebecca Dowling, Hockessin Book Shelf, Hockessin, DE
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • NPR • The Washington Post • New York Public Library • BookPage • “An adrenalized, darkly romantic journey.”—The Washington Post
1970s, Mexico City. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance. While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger.
Her next-door neighbor, Leonora, a beautiful art student, seems to live a life of intrigue and romance that Maite envies. When Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman—and journeying deeper into Leonora’s secret life of student radicals and dissidents.
Meanwhile, someone else is also looking for Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life: He loathes violence and loves old movies and rock ’n’ roll. But as Elvis searches for the missing woman, he watches Maite from a distance—and comes to regard her as a kindred spirit who shares his love of music and the unspoken loneliness of his heart.
Now as Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the truth behind Leonora’s disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies all aiming to protect Leonora’s secrets—at gunpoint.
Velvet Was the Night is an edgy, simmering historical novel for lovers of smoky noirs and anti-heroes.
“An absolute flex . . . [Velvet Was the Night] left me marveling at what kind of sorceress Moreno-Garcia must be as she reworks genre after genre, weaving in Mexican history and culture, satisfying familiar cravings without resorting to mere pastiche. The most tantalizing suspense of all comes with wondering what she’ll do next.”—Slate
“Moreno-Garcia proves her prowess as a historical fiction powerhouse again.”—BuzzFeed
“Immensely satisfying, refreshingly new and gloriously written . . . Moreno-Garcia mashes up Anglocentric genres with midcentury Mexican history, resulting in a brew flavored with love, heartbreak, violence, music and unsettling dread. . . . The gift of this book, and Moreno-Garcia’s storytelling, is how it imbues this well-worn genre with added strength, grace and even musicality.”—The New York Times Book Review
“An enthralling tale that’s as fun as it is mysterious . . . The characters are fascinating, the tone lush and romantic, and it’s all wrapped up in a mystery with twists and turns one likely won’t see coming. . . . [Moreno-Garcia is] the sort of author whose works automatically end up on your ‘must-read’ list.”—USA Today
“The author’s previous novel, Mexican Gothic, turned the screw on the traditional ghost story; here she gleefully pries hard-boiled noir from the cold, white hands of Chandler and Hammett.”—Oprah Daily
“A delicious, twisted treat for lovers of noir. Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a masterful writer who pulls you into her dark world and never lets you go. From the suspenseful, slow-burn plot to the crisp, desperate characters, you will be obsessed.”—Simone St. James, New York Times bestselling author of The Sun Down Motel
“A lush, magnificent trip into a world of danger and discovery. Not to be missed!”—S.A. Cosby, author of Blacktop Wasteland and Razorblade Tears
“A rich novel with an engrossing plot, distinctive characters, and a pleasing touch of romance. Readers won’t be able to put it down.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Fans of Moreno-Garcia’s other novels will relish this title, as will noir aficionados and readers who like stories about everymen and women rising to the occasion.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“It’s hard to describe how much fun this novel is. . . . A noir masterpiece.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A winner that brings together a romance-fiction obsessed secretary and a lovelorn enforcer during the brutally suppressed student riots in 1970s Mexico City.”—Booklist (starred review)