I love a good mystery novel (especially if it has some thriller elements thrown in). I had just finished my first Silvia Moreno-Garcia novel when I saw this title, Velvet Was the Night, was upcoming. I was excited to not only find it available to request on NetGalley but that I was approved!
My excitement with this book sort of ends there. This is a hard book for me to review, mostly because I was left with mixed feelings once I read the last sentence.
As many of her readers know, Silvia Moreno-Garcia is an excellent writer! That was showcased throughout this novel and was what I was expecting. She has a way with words and a way of bringing those words together to create a story that you can see. She makes it easy for the reader to not only see the image she’s creating for us but also feel along with the characters. I did love the noir tone that is infused into her writing and this story.
Speaking of the characters, this is partly where I have mixed feelings. I didn’t find either of our main characters Maite or Elvis to be likable or even easy to connect with. It seemed that Maite was always either whining/complaining or lying. Those two things are what I remember the most about her. Elvis, on the other hand, mostly seemed to me a little mindless. He had orders and he followed them. He had music interests similar to Maite’s, but it was always in the background. It seemed that this tidbit of each personality was placed into the story to connect them more to the plot, but it just felt like a weak connection.
The plot was interesting and just engaging enough for me to continue reading through the end. However, I think I would have preferred slightly different main characters. Or just a different angle on the whole story. The missing woman and her story, understandably, were given a lot of page time throughout the book. I honestly kept reading to find out what she saw, what she knew, how does it connect back to this little enforcer gang for the government, etc. We only get partial answers to some of those questions by the end, which was frustrating. I also felt that the story was missing the slow tension that I imagine is seen in noir (but I wouldn’t 100% know).
And then reading the author’s note gives insight to why she wrote the story yet leaves me wondering why she wrote this particular story and say Leonora’s story (the missing woman). In the end, I didn’t love it, but didn’t hate it.