Velvet Was the Night

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a simmering historical noir about a daydreaming secretary, a lonesome enforcer, and the mystery of the missing woman they’re both desperate to find.

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, NPR, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, New York Public Library, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, BookPage, She Reads, Library Journal • “An adrenalized, darkly romantic journey.”—The Washington Post

Mexico in the 1970s is a dangerous country, even for Maite, a secretary who spends her life seeking the romance found in cheap comic books and ignoring the activists protesting around the city. When her next-door neighbor, the beautiful art student 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. 

Mexico in the 1970s is a politically fraught land, even for Elvis, a goon with a passion for rock ’n’ roll who knows more about kidney-smashing than intrigue. When Elvis is assigned to find Leonora, he begins a blood-soaked search for the woman—and his soul.  

Swirling in parallel trajectories, Maite and Elvis attempt to discover the truth behind Leonora’s disappearance, encountering hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies. Because Mexico in the 1970s is a noir, where life is cheap and the price of truth is high.

Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication Year: 2021
Cover: Faceout Studio, Tim Green
ISBN: 9780593356821


VELVET WAS THE NIGHT is 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

Velvet Was the Night is a rollicking work of historical noir with a vivid sense of time and place and an unforgettable cast. Moreno-Garcia made me care deeply about her characters and their dangerous, riveting misadventures. This is a stylish, hard-boiled novel painted in shades of gray with a whole lot of heart.

—Steph Cha, author of Your House Will Pay

Velvet Was The Night cements Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s incredible versatility as an amazing writer who moves between genres effortlessy. 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

Silvia Moreno-Garcia takes you into the gritty underworld noir of 1970’s Mexico City with a propulsive read where no one and nothing is as it seems.

— Isabella Maldonado, bestselling author The Cipher

This seductive neo-noir thriller … draws on the real-life efforts of the Mexican government to suppress political dissent in the 1970s… Readers won’t be able to put it down.

—Publishers Weekly

The novel features memorable characters, taut pacing, an intricate plot, and antiheroes you can’t help but root for. A noir masterpiece.


Moreno-Garcia keeps the suspense high and the action intense, all while sharing a bit of 1970s Mexican history in this perfectly pitched novel.

—Library Journal

Moreno-Garcia … brings together a romance-fiction obsessed secretary and a lovelorn enforcer during the brutally suppressed student riots in 1970s Mexico City… Their stories of danger and passion run side by side in an enveloping narrative that is at once dark and bright.


Immensely satisfying, refreshingly new and gloriously written…Moreno-Garcia’s storytelling, is how it imbues this well-worn genre with added strength, grace and even musicality

—The New York Times

Through precise, accessible yet poetic prose, these charac­ters instantly come alive, and when they begin venturing into Mexico City’s darker corners, we are eager to follow them. The result is another triumph for one of genre fiction’s brightest voices


Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the most impressive sort of writer, driven to experiment with genre approaches while maintaining a consistently high quality of work… It’s a delectable feast of a story.

—Toronto Star

The delectable cocktail that is Velvet Was the Night contains a generous dash of bitters, but the finish is satisfyingly mellow. It goes down so smoothly that it left me marveling at what kind of sorceress Moreno-Garcia must be as she reworks genre after genre.


An adrenalized, darkly romantic journey set during Mexico’s Dirty War.”

—Washington Post

The perfect summer indulgence, this book leaves the reader keyed up, breathless, and eager for more of what Moreno-Garcia has to offer.

—Chicago Review of Books

This is a noir with a heart of gold, and it’s a narrative in which the empathy we feel for its characters ultimately reveals an important truth: That Moreno-Garcia is not only a talented storyteller but also an incredibly versatile one.


Velvet Was the Night is a remarkably evocative noir novel set against the backdrop of one of the most turbulent political times in Mexico’s recent history

—Criminal Element

Both wonderfully atmospheric and an enlightening examination of the politics of the street and a world where endemic corruption reigns seen through the naïve eyes of a romantic bystander…a fascinating slice of historical noir.

—Crime Time

Romantic, eccentric and violent, this is a perfect example of neo-noir

—The Sunday Times Crime Club