Velvet Was the Night

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 thug 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 secrets behind Leonora’s disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies aiming to protect Leonora’s secrets–at gunpoint.


"It’s hard to describe how much fun this novel is—Moreno-Garcia, whose Mexican Gothic (2020) gripped readers last year, proves to be just as good at noir as she is at horror. The novel features memorable characters, taut pacing, an intricate plot, and antiheroes you can’t help but root for."

Kirkus, Starred Review!

"This is 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!

"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."

Booklist, Starred Review!

“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, Starred Review!

“Immensely satisfying, refreshingly new and gloriously written… 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.”

New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice

"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."


“The new novel by the best-selling author of Mexican Gothic shows another bewitching side of Mexico.... You'll be pulled into the tale with spies, romance, danger and rock 'n' roll.”


“Moreno-Garcia proves her prowess as a historical fiction powerhouse again.”


“[A] can’t-miss follow-up to Mexican Gothic.”

Harper's Bazaar

“A dazzling noir.”


"Sexy and simmering."

E! News

"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... [Silvia Moreno-Garcia is] the sort of author whose works automatically end up on your “must read” list."

USA Today

"Brutal, stylish, and infused with the passions of the times, Velvet Was the Night is a perfect political thriller.”


"These are deeply eccentric and fascinating characters who seem at times to have stepped out of an Elmore Leonard and into the chaotic politics of an exuberant and tumultuous Latin metropolis. That’s a heady mix, and Moreno-Garcia handles all the wildness and desperation with careful skill, creating a story that resonates with a genuinely edgy sensibility."


“Intelligent, sexy, and highly entertaining… The historical detail of Velvet Was the Night lends the novel its gravity and intellect, but it is the author’s considerable skill with developing characters and thrilling, fast-paced plotlines that gives it its energy. 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

“Throughout her career, the style-shifting novelist Silvia Moreno-Garcia has demonstrated a remarkable ability to employ the tropes of genre fiction while simultaneously subverting and decolonizing them … Velvet Was the Night her riveting new noir, is an adrenalized, darkly romantic journey set during Mexico’s Dirty War … Moreno-Garcia keeps us guessing … Moreno-Garcia always leaves her own indelible stamp on any seemingly familiar genre.”

The Washington Post

"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, a book that will keep you up late into the night—not just for its intricate plotting but also for the two souls pulsing at its core."


"Moreno-Garcia skillfully weaves classic noir tropes into the political particulars of this setting"


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

The Sunday Times Crime Club

"Moreno-Garcia is a magician able to switch genres with ease . . . a superb noir thriller."

The Guardian

"Pacy enough to keep you hooked - as it reaches its climax, so will your heart rate."

Cosmopolitan UK

"This fascinating tale skilfully weaves the history and politics of the period."

The Sunday Post

"Within this rich world and character is a tense thriller that builds as the book reaches its climax . . . touches of John Le Carré espionage."

SFBook Reviews

"An assured piece of historical fiction, as well as a slice of noir."

SHOTS Magazine

"A delicious, twisted historical novel for lovers of smoky noir and antiheroes, about a daydreaming secretary, a lonesome enforcer, and the mystery of a missing woman they’re both desperate to find. In Velvet Was the Night, readers will discover memorable characters amidst a fast-paced, intricate plot, full of suspenseful action and 1970s Mexican history."


“A neo-noir masterpiece that will have you cancelling your dinner plans so you can finish this sucker in one sitting. Folks, these pages turn themselves and despite the dark themes, freedom crushing state violence, and a story completely lacking in empathy, Velvet Was the Night is one of the most fun reads this year... It has become increasingly clear that Silvia Moreno-Garcia can bang out any genre she chooses. She’s a gift."


"Moreno-Garcia writes with an impressive clarity and immediacy... a delectable feast of a story."

The Star

“Velvet Was the Night is a must-read novel… Through daydreaming and lonely characters with a knack for solving mysteries, this genre novel leaves you wanting to encounter a mystery of your own.”

But Why Tho?

“Not your grandparents' pulp fiction or Quentin Tarantino's, either. 'Velvet Was the Night' is a wonderfully entertaining, slyly feminist pulp novel.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune

But Moreno-Garcia’s latest novel does more than just give a taste of the noir we all know and love; it brings to light the cruelty and fear present for those living in 1970s Mexico’ll walk away with a memorable snapshot of an ordinary Mexican citizen’s life during the political unrest of the 1970s."


"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 of The Cipher

"VELVET WAS THE NIGHT is a smooth, amber tinted, cigar scented affair that rings in your ears. Corruption and a desperation to escape the world around you as it slowly unravels. Maite and Elvis are two sides of the same coin in this story. Maite and her dreamy avoidance of everything going on around her meets Elvis' blind rushing through the goings on, while still somehow missing the flying bullets. Told from these two points of view, it's almost like you're a part of the story as well. If you're just as unable to affect the circumstances effecting them. It's the perfect read for a hot summer evening, where the world is moving slowly, and the cicadas are screaming."

Caitlyn Vanorder, Bookmarks

“I have issues with Moreno-Garcia's books because I never want them to end! She always wants me wanting more and a sequel! VELVET WAS THE NIGHT takes place in the 70s Mexico City in the midst of political unrest. Maite and Elvis are two characters from different backgrounds whose paths align to find a person who has disappeared. Readers will escape and find joy in VELVET WAS THE NIGHT due to the action, the loneliness of both characters, and the beautiful setting of Mexico City.”

Deanna Bailey, Story on the Square

“Oh. My. Goodness. Could not put this down! Moreno-Garcia's ability to write people, characters, is stellar. The plot was suspenseful and very engaging, but to tell you the truth, I could read about Maite and Elvis brushing their teeth and be enthralled. We need more pulp/historical fiction in our lives! And thank you for bringing this important time in Mexican history to light!”

Jen Hillebrandt, Townie Books

“With the smoothness and soul of a priceless vinyl, Silvia Morena-Garcia’s prose envelope your senses and transport you to the 1970’s where Mexico City is caught in the throes of political unrest. You follow two nondescript, morally corrupt, yet fascinating people who from vastly different paths are pulled into the mystery of what happened to the beautiful Leonora, her camera, and why everyone cares so damn much. VELVET WAS THE NIGHT explores the unpolished edges of our souls we hide from one another and unveils the people who find the inadequacies of their lives to hold an inescapable gravitas. Here is a mystery that spirals into an achingly realistic look at humanity. Whose grit and violence is balanced with poignant moments of vulnerability. It’s written by a master of her craft whose mind you’d be remiss to not wander through. Simply put, it’s a fantastic read with an ending that I loved…”

Constance, Mysterious Galaxy