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Publisher's Summary

GOOD MORNING AMERICA BUZZ PICK • 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.

©2021 Silvia Moreno-Garcia (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“[Velvet Was the Night] 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.” (NPR) 

“An absolute flex...[Velvet Was the Night] left me marveling at what kind of sorceress Moreno-Garcia must be as she reworks genre after genre, weaving in Mexican history and culture, satisfying familiar cravings without resorting to mere pastiche. The most tantalizing suspense of all comes with wondering what she’ll do next.” (Slate)

“Immensely satisfying, refreshingly new and gloriously written.... Moreno-Garcia mashes up Anglocentric genres with midcentury Mexican history, resulting in a brew flavored with love, heartbreak, violence, music and unsettling dread.... 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.” (The New York Times Book Review

Featured Article: These Noir Listens Will Take You to the Dark Side of Fiction


What do you love most in your mystery listens? Is it dark, moody settings and gritty storylines? Is it morally ambiguous main characters with complex inner lives? If so, noir is your kind of fiction. As a literary genre, noir can be difficult to nail down because so much of it is based on a general feeling of darkness and danger. Noir fiction was inspired by film noir, and film noir traces its roots to hard-boiled detective novels. Check out the world of noir fiction audiobooks.

What listeners say about Velvet Was the Night

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Amazing, entertaining, and insightful

My biggest critique is that I finished it so quickly. Amazing book I enjoyed the political / historical environment weaved by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This is the 3rd book I've listened to from her, in the last year, and probably my favorite. Wonderful characters, rich musical references that I often found myself listening to in between chapters, and really utilizes the landscape of Mexico City. It has a bit of a Pulp Fiction vibe at times, I'd love to see this as a movie.

9 people found this helpful

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I liked it...but it was tough

So I'll get to it, I liked the way the story was read, and the experience was great my only complaint was the protagonist. Like I am not sure if she was made to be realistic. We always expect the protagonist to be so sure of themselves and ready to do whatever is necessary, but she was second-guessing herself, making decisions that had me screaming at them like if I was watching a movie, and my God I rooted for her, I truly wanted her to open her eyes and see the obvious. Honestly, I think maybe that was the whole point of her character to make us look within to see that in certain circumstances where we kept our head in the sand we do crazy ridiculous things. The story dragged on in certain parts and the dialogue was at times really cheesy but it gave it the feel of how they may have used certain slang in that time. Still a great story and I enjoy her other books, give it a try if you have credits to spare.

6 people found this helpful

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Loved it

This book was amazing! The characters are so well done. García is such an amazing Writer.

4 people found this helpful

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Great Noir

This novel is great if you like noir. Organized crime story involving the government and students wanting a revolution.

4 people found this helpful

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Couldn’t stop

Once I started the story I couldn’t stop! Such a great story with enthralling characters and a plot that keeps you wanting more!

3 people found this helpful

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Loved this novel!!

This noir-style novel had me hooked from the very beginning to the very end. Completely recommend it!

3 people found this helpful

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All too familiar

Although this is fictional, the events are all well too known with past terrifying events in Mexico's student, teacher and civilian population. It was an interesting story without being politicized.

2 people found this helpful

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Not a whole lot happens!

Mexican Gothic was hands-down my favorite listen of the past year, so I was excited to check out some of Silvia Moreno-Garcia's other works, but this one fell really flat for me. It never really picks up. The twist/reveal at the end was somewhat but the destination wasn't worth the journey. Great narration for what it's worth.

2 people found this helpful

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Good find

I love Elvis, relate to Maite. Well told story, characters were genuinely interesting and not forced. Will recommend!

2 people found this helpful

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Boring..I kept waiting to get interested but didn'

Very amateurish narration of the Male characters. And how many times can you fit the word "f..k" in one book? Not my taste in books but I finished it anyway. I wish I had known about the historical events before reading the book.

1 person found this helpful