Published by Del Rey on August 17, 2021
View Title on Goodreads
Bantering Books Rating:
From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a “delicious, twisted treat for lovers of noir” about a daydreaming secretary, a lonesome enforcer, and the mystery of a missing woman they’re both desperate to find.
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 comes to observe Maite from a distance—and grows more and more obsessed with this woman 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.
Bantering Books Review
She wondered what kind of story started like this.
Well, if the story is anything like Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s latest novel, Velvet Was the Night, I would say it’s noir and pulp fiction. It’s the kind of story that stars a government thug named Elvis, a romance comic fanatic named Maite, and a missing woman. It’s the kind of story that transports you to 1970s Mexico during the politically-charged Dirty War.
And it’s the kind of story that is nothing like Moreno-Garcia’s 2020 hit, Mexican Gothic. Velvet Was the Night is a crime novel, and a slow burner at that. If you pick it up expecting another tale of supernatural horror, you will be sorely disappointed.
But if you go into it for what it is – a compelling, intricate, superbly-written noir mystery – you’re in for a hella good read.
What makes it so great is the characters. Moreno-Garcia has truly outdone herself with Elvis and Maite, and their eccentric, dynamic personalities offset the slower pace of the story. They are fascinating in their gray morals and dishonorable intentions, yet likable and sympathetic enough to keep us reading when not much is happening on the page.
And they both have the MOST EXCELLENT taste in music. Seriously, their record collections are to die for.
Velvet Was the Night will not be for everyone, though. And many of the reasons why I loved it are exactly why some readers won’t.
It’s not exhilarating. Or shocking. It’s not filled to the brim with breathtaking twists.
It’s just good, old-fashioned, solid storytelling. And I’ll take that over a cheap thrill any day.
My sincerest appreciation to Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Del Rey, and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy. All opinions included herein are my own.