Velvet Was the Night

Del Rey/Ballantine/. Aug. 2021. 304p. Tr $28. ISBN 9780593356821.
Two disparate characters find themselves hoping for a new life in Mexico City at the beginning of the 1970s. Elvis ran away from a small town after some police trouble and is now a 21-year-old Hawk, a gang that has been sent to keep tabs on student dissidents. Maite, a 30-year-old secretary, ignores the world that passes by outside in favor of one she can invent, spending her time reading Secret Romance, listening to and collecting records, and making up stories. These two will find the elements of a traditional noir, coming up against an attractive stranger as they each set out to find a girl who has gone missing. Only as the story progresses will they find out that the danger may lie not only with the side of the dangerous DHS agent, and the gangs, but also with the government that has hired them. Moreno-Garcia presents a gritty and enjoyable tale fictionalizing events after a student uprising.
VERDICT A strong choice for readers for whom mature content or language is not a deterrent and who enjoy or film in the genre such as Fargo or The Black Dahlia.

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