09 Aug Author Spotlight: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Written by Nick Philip, Adult Services Supervisor
One of the rising stars in genre fiction, Silvia Moreno-Garcia has been publishing at a rapid pace over the past decade. With a particular focus on thrillers and horror, Moreno-Garcia has centered her works around her native Mexico and its past. Her newest novel, Silver Nitrate, is due to hit the shelf at PGTPL this month. It tells the story of Montserrat, a talented sound editor in 1990s Mexico City, who is recruited by a horror director to lift a curse placed upon him through one of his films. If this interests you, or if you’re interested in Moreno-Garcia’s other novels, check out our primer below to find the next addition to your reading list. Enjoy!
Perhaps Moreno-Garcia’s most popular book, Mexican Gothic tells the story of a 1950s socialite from Mexico City, Noemí, running to the rescue of her cousin, Catalina. After receiving a disturbing letter from Catalina, Noemí races to the rural mansion of her cousin’s new family and is confronted with a concerning situation. The house and family are suitably creepy and lend themselves to an intense page-turner as the macabre slowly settles in. Mexican Gothic was a nominee for both the 2021 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel and the 2021 Nebula Award for Best Novel.
Set in 1920s Yucatan, this 2019 historical fantasy follows a young woman living the life of a servant in her rich grandfather’s home. After discovering a forbidden chest in her grandfather’s bedroom, Casiopea becomes embroiled in the machinations of the Mayan god of death, leading her on an adventure through Mayan mythology. Gods of Jade and Shadow was nominated for the 2020 Nebula Award for Best Novel.
Moreno-Garcia’s second release was Certain Dark Things, a fusion of neo-noir and urban fantasy featuring a Mexico City street kid and a renegade vampire at odds with both the police and vampire crimelords. This action-packed book beautifully fuses horror into an urban setting, which is a technique highlighted in some of her later novels.
Moreno-Garcia followed up the smash hit Mexican Gothic with a book featuring virtually no speculative elements. Velvet Was the Night follows two young people, one a secretary, another a hired thug, through the political upheaval of 1970s Mexico. Communicating noir in the same way that Mexican Gothic explored a gothic atmosphere, this vivid thriller is a must for any fan of the crime genre.
In 2017’s The Beautiful Ones, Moreno-Garcia explores a new fantasy world modeled after late 1800s Europe, sprinkled with fantastical abilities in the form of telekinesis. Talented newcomer Hector is a renowned entertainer who takes Nina, a failing socialite, under his wings. As Nina’s telekinetic talents blossom, so does her love for Hector, though a secret truth may shatter Nina’s hopes for her future. While a departure from her usual genres, Moreno-Garcia cleverly shows her versatility with The Beautiful Ones.
A reimagining of the H.G. Wells classic The Island of Doctor Moreau, this 2022 sci-fi tale centers not on the Doctor, but instead on Montgomery Laughton, his daughter Carlota, and the hybrids representing the fruit of the Doctor’s labors. As Moreno-Garcia is wont to do, the narrative moved from the Pacific Ocean to the jungles of 19th-century Mexico. With significantly more interference from the outside world, Moreno-Garcia reinvents Well’s original tale into a book with a different focus.
Moreno-Garcia’s debut novel is an exploration of the power of music, both figuratively and literally. As a teenager, Meche loved exploring the music and magic of the era with her friends through mixtapes. Twenty years later, the narrative picks back up as Meche returns to Mexico City for her father’s funeral. Looking back on the events from 1988, Meche tries to rediscover the magic and friendship of her youth. After all, who doesn’t like their magic mixed with the sounds of Siouxsie and the Banshees?
Released just months before Mexican Gothic, Untamed Shore is both a departure from Mexico City and the world of speculative fiction. Set in 1979 Baja California, this mystery novel follows Viridiana, the assistant to a rich American author. When death strikes, Viridiana finds herself involved in the ensuing chaos. This foray into crime fiction foreshadowed the publication of Velvet Was the Night.