Velvet was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a noir set in 1970's Mexico City. Based on real historical events, this novel takes place during the Dirty War exploring corruption and violence and begs the question - what is fair? This noir is a slow burn with an ending that really pays off!
Here are five reasons to read Velvet was the Night.
I loved that this book used music throughout. The dedication of the book is to Moreno-Garcia's father thanking him for the music. The novel is full of record collections, jukeboxes, radio tunes, and people whistling or singing. The use of music demonstrates culturally what was happening during the Dirty War, as rock concerts were banned and the content within songs was heavily censored. The music in the novel creates atmosphere and sparks a connection between characters. Plus - there is a playlist to go along with the book! Check it out:
Set in 1970's Mexico City, Velvet was the Night highlights what is was like to live in that time in the city. Taking place during the Dirty War, this novel highlights the power of protestors, printed word, and photography. It also shows the US's involvement through the CIA's support of the Hawks, a group that killed, injured, and suppressed protestors. Reading this book definitely opened my eyes to a time period that I previously hadn't explored in depth!
Velvet was the Night switches between two narratives: Elvis a sweetie at heart and a member of the Hawks and Maite a secretary with a parakeet, a romance pulp comic collection, and records in both English and Spanish. When Leonora, Maite's neighbor, goes missing, Maite and Elvis both end up searching for her, albeit separately. Maite and Elvis are characters that I haven't read before, quirky and loveable, I enjoyed following their dual narrative!
FOUR: SECRET ROMANCE
Maite has an impressive collection of pulpy romance comics that she is always reading. I love this bit about her. Her fantasies cloud her judgement and help propel her deeper into this mystery. I think this is one of the first times I've read a character that loved comics so much. It was endearing, charming, and made Maite a unique character.
FIVE: TWISTY TWIST
What would a book be without a twist ending? The start of this novel is a lovely slow burn with lots of backstory and history of the characters. We learn all about their motivations and interests. We learn about life in the city for a woman and a man without options. While this is all going on, a woman goes missing and we start to worry about her. The stakes heat up in the end, and there is a character reveal that floored me! Read it! The pay off is so worth it.
PRE-ORDER VELVET WAS THE NIGHT HERE:
Velvet was the Night will come out August 2021!
OTHER WORKS FROM SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA
The Return of the Sorceress is a short and quick fantasy novella. Yalxi is a bad ass sorceress who, with the help of her nahual companion, seeks revenge. Silvia Moreno-Garcia packs a punch with this book – fitting in world building and fantastical elements in just 100 pages! A fun read for sure! So grateful to have been selected for an advance copy xx It’s currently available for pre-order and will come out this June! Don't miss it!!
Mexican Gothic was so creepy, enchanting, and bizarre. I loved this read so much! Find it on Goodreads here!
Until next time