August 12, 2021
Dear Mr. Hemingway,
Never judge a book by its cover, right? I can’t say that any of your first edition book covers (or even later ones) persuaded me to read your work (sorry 🤷♀️). However, the words you wrote made up for some wickedly boring covers. I will admit though that I was instantly seduced by the cover of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s newest sensation, Velvet Was the Night. Luscious lips coated in a sticky pink gloss about to take a drag off of a tantalizing cigarette being gracefully handled by pointy manicured nails with a drizzle of smoke permeating the air!!! Ummmmm, I had to see what’s inside! And guess what???? I am happy to report that the pages of this historical noir were just as mesmerizing as its cover. Let’s take a look.
Moreno-Garcia’s latest work of art takes place in Mexico City during the 1970s, the start of the “Dirty War”. Our leading lady Maite is for all intents and purposes, a bored and lonely secretary who enjoys her weekly romance comics with a small side of kleptomania. When her neighbor goes missing, Maite is determined (out of sheer annoyance) to find her, which leads us to Elvis. Elvis is a young gentleman who unofficially works for the government as a member of the HAWKS. His position is everything he despises…attacking, torturing and basically killing protesters. Elvis and Maite’s paths get tangled when they discover they are both searching for the same missing woman but for entirely different reasons. Maite is very surprised to learn the depths of this search. Government involvement, Russian spies and a whole lot of danger give this underwhelmed secretary an unexpected run for her money.
Velvet Was the Night was 100% my cup of tea. I loved how the setting was smothered in dimness with a heavy sense of danger lurking in the background. I enjoy sunny stories with blue skies and laughter from time to time. Who doesn’t? However, being engrossed in a slow burn mystery while drenching myself in inky vibes brings me tons of reading joy. I want to feel like I am somewhere different. I read to learn, to escape, to bear emotions that are different from those in my own life. Moreno-Garcia invited me somewhere tense and unsettled while occupying my mind with an absorbing tale. I just adore when my reading expectations are met.
Maite and Elvis’ are not polished or shining brightly through the pages for that matter. In all honesty though, sparkly characters are not the ones who rock my literary world. I prefer the dreamers, the characters with jagged edges. While I was wildly entertained with a weary secretary suddenly getting involved in such threatening affairs, I was also thrilled to be engaged in a setting/time period that opened my eyes to a part of history I knew very little about. Lastly, Moreno-Garcia brings on the noir, lonely hearts and political “riff” with an incredible nod to vinyl and good old fashion rock n’ roll. Authors who braid in the love of music (forbidden music in this case), always win me over.
Velvet Was the Night comes out August 17, 2021. Be sure to grab yourself a copy! Now, “A Little Less Conversation” and a whole bunch of reading please!
Until next time my friend!
Your Biggest Fan,
P.S. Be sure to check out what I had to say about Moreno-Garcia’s previous book, Mexican Gothic.
***I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own. If I don’t like it…I don’t share it!