Leonora has gone missing and everyone wants to find her for the incriminating photographs she may have taken during a political riot. Maite, a woman obsessed with romance comics, gets swept up in the search for Leonora after she is left caring for her cat. Elvis, a member of the Hawks, a group of goons assembled to quash political activism, is also looking for Leonora. Alternating between Maite and Elvis’s perspectives, this book is a wild ride through the seedy underbelly of Mexico City in the 1970s.
I am going to start out by saying that I love Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I think she’s a fantastic author, creates truly atmospheric settings, and is excellent at character development. I’ve read several of her books and really enjoyed them, and each book seems to be a step in a different direction. With this book, she took on noir crime fiction, and I objectively think she did an excellent job. That said, I’ve found that I really do not care for noir crime fiction. I enjoy the suspense but I hate the grittiness. So this book was not for me, but I can definitely say it was well written, action-packed, and filled with well-developed, compelling characters.
Because I did not care for the grittiness of the story, I definitely enjoyed the chapters from Maite’s perspective more than those from Elvis’s perspective. Maite is a woman who leads a lonely existence and finds the drama and romance missing in her own life by reading romance comics. Because of this, she gets easily swept up in Leonora’s story, especially when she runs into a handsome man who asks to look in Leonora’s apartment for a camera. When Leonora does not return home, Maite seeks out her friends and family to try to find her. Unknowingly, she is pulling herself into a huge, dangerous conspiracy that will threaten her life more than once.
Elvis is a man who was pulled into the life of a goon by circumstance. He admires his leader, El Mago, and wants to do everything to please him. So, when he is chosen to lead the search for Leonora for the Hawks, Elvis begins tailing Maite who he finds strangely alluring. But his investigation is not all that it seems, and it appears El Mago might be hiding more than one secret.
Elvis and Maite are both incredibly lonely characters, and though both have some really terrible traits, it does seem almost inevitable that they find each other. Both of them are well-developed and their stories are immersive. The plot is packed with action and suspense that keeps the narrative moving. If you are a fan of noir fiction or just want an intense read with an engrossing plot, this might be a winner for you!
If you’ve read Velvet Was the Night, tell me what you thought!
CW: violence, torture, murder,