Silver Nitrate

From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Daughter of Doctor Moreau and Mexican Gothic comes a fabulous meld of Mexican horror movies and Nazi occultism: a dark thriller about a curse that haunts a legendary lost film – and awakens one woman’s hidden powers.

Montserrat has always been overlooked. She’s a talented sound editor, but she’s left out of the boys’ club running the film industry in ’90s Mexico City. And she’s all-but-invisible to her best friend Tristán, a charming if faded soap opera star, even though she’s been in love with him since childhood.

Then Tristán discovers his new neighbour is the cult horror director Abel Urueta, and the legendary auteur claims he has a way to change their lives – even if his tales of a Nazi occultist imbuing magic into highly volatile silver nitrate stock sounds like sheer fantasy. The magic film was never finished, which is why, Urueta swears, his career vanished overnight. He is cursed.

Now the director wants Montserrat and Tristán to help him shoot the missing scene and lift the curse, but Montserrat soon notices a dark presence following her, and Tristán begins seeing the ghost of his ex-girlfriend…

As they work together to unravel the mystery of the film and the obscure occultist who once roamed their city, Montserrat and Tristan might find out that sorcerers and magic are not only the stuff of movies.


“Combining real history with unsettling magic, Moreno-Garcia effortlessly ties explorations of misogyny, addiction, antisemitism, and racism into a plot that never falters from its breakneck pace…This is a knockout.”

Publisher's Weekly, STARRED review!

"Moreno-Garcia’s prose is enchanting, full of perfect phrases that dot every page. Whether they are describing the brilliant whites produced on old film or the visage of a ghostly apparition, her sentences deliver tidy packages of imagery like motes of light in the darkness, their beauty so great that sometimes you forget—just for a moment—about the things that go bump in the night."

BookPage, STARRED Review!

"[T]his heart-pounding paranormal thriller melds real history with things that go bump in the night.”


"[T]here is simply no resisting the dark spells cast by Moreno-Garcia’s characters — nor those so expertly cast over readers by the author herself."

The LA Times

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s dexterity with genre — oscillating between horror, thriller, crime and gothic — is well known by now, as is her penchant for mashing them with historical Mexican settings.... Like our protagonists, searching for clues to ward off Nazi spirits and curses, the pages flow “directionless, yet confident in their steps.” Our only option is to follow as each scene unspools."

The New York Times

"Silvia Moreno-Garcia is one of the most unique and exciting voices in contemporary fiction, so when it comes to Silver Nitrate, each of these things only makes me want to read the novel even more. Moreno-Garcia makes darkness shine, and this one promises to be very dark."


"Like its namesake, 'Silver Nitrate' catches fire and doesn’t stop burning until the end."

Washington Post

"Our lady of suspenseful horror, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, is back with another trip into a spooky Mexico City"


"Silvia Moreno-Garcia is one of the greats of our time. Silver Nitrate is another example of work that understands its genre well enough to pack a perfect punch in the direction of an audience often sidelined, and once again, it’s a knock-out. Homage and send-up at once and a marvel at all of it. Reading this one feels like a triumph.... Sleek, suspenseful, brown and bisexual as hell, Silver Nitrate haunts in the best way."

"[SIlvia Moreno-Garcia's] novels are page-turners with beating hearts, with one foot in the profane and another in the sacred."

America Magazine

"The intricate plot is supported by a fully realized setting and seamlessly integrated information about the detailed work of sound editing. Recommend to fans of Night Film, by Marisha Pessl (2013), Last Days, by Adam Nevill (2013), or Ring, by Koji Suzuki (2003)."


"An engaging, inventive story of moviemaking and the occult for film geeks and genre buffs."


"Silver Nitrate is wildly engaging, dark, unique, and gripping. Moreno-Garcia has been consistently delivering great novels for years [...] but Silver Nitrate might just surpass them all."

Locus Magazine

"Moreno-Garcia effortlessly delivers the details of place and Montserrat and Tristán’s complicated personal relationship without sacrificing the novel’s compelling pace and intriguing plot, one that contemplates racism and sexism. Moreno-Garcia...has written a love letter to Mexico City’s film industry and an excellent entry into the popular horror subgenre of occult films."

Library Journal

"This book has everything, and I could not recommend it enough!"


"Moreno-Garcia is a master of pacing, gradually ramping up the supernatural stakes while peppering the tale with fascinating bits of occult esoterica....Moreno Garcia’s affection for a nearly forgotten corner of film history, as well as her almost gleeful appreciation of occult arcana, are undeniable fun, as are her two engrossing main leads."


"I'm still thinking about this book. Still turning elements of it over to examine them, to better appreciate them. It's a fabulous novel."

Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine

"Silver Nitrate is such a deeply cinematic book that you can almost hear the whirring of the projector as you read. Moreno-Garcia's prose is rich and evocative, her characters vividly drawn and endearing, and her take on black magic insidiously seductive."

SFX Magazine

"Moreno-Garcia crafts a world so rich with details and history that you won’t be able to look away."

This Is Horror

"You don't just read this book, you live in it--and it will charm you, intrigue you, and scare the daylights out of you."

Tim Powers, World Fantasy Award winning author of The Anubis Gates

"Silver Nitrate is a popcorn thrill ride into the underbelly of 90s Mexican horror movie and occultism—Moreno-Garcia crafts a world so rich with details and history that you won’t be able to look away. Beyond being a break-neck read, this is a book that forces readers to reckon with the monsters that scare us, on screen and in the shadows."

Dana Schwartz, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anatomy: A Love Story

“Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a treasure and Silver Nitrate is a gem: a chilling roller coaster of a tale that captures perfectly why we love horror movies, scary books, and things that go bump in the night."

Chris Bohjalian, New York Times bestselling author of The Lioness

"I'd read hundreds of pages of just Montserrat and Tristán being cantankerously charming best friends, but add a cursed film and a secret society of sorcerers? Perfection. No one punctures the skin of reality to reveal the lurking, sinister magic beneath better than Silvia Moreno-Garcia."

Kiersten White, national bestselling author of Hide

"Hip as hell, Silver Nitrate delivers a cinematic and exhilarating punch. Silvia Moreno-Garcia does it again with this creepy and unforgettable occultist thriller, teeming with the decadence of old horror movies. It’s Mexico City in the nineties, where beepers, cigarettes, and the ghost of an ex-girlfriend come alive as if leaping from the page. I felt cooler just reading it."

Kali Fajardo-Anstine, bestselling author of Woman of Light and Sabrina & Corina

Awards & Accolades


#12 on the Indie bestseller list!


#25 on the USA Today bestseller list!


In its 2nd paperback printing!


Goodreads Choice Awards 2023: Finalist, Best Horror