‘Velvet Was the Night’: Waiting for it? Loved it? Try these titles!

By Collection Management Librarian Kathy

I love how much our community uses the library. Sometimes that means waiting for the hottest titles. Don’t fret! I can help you find a similar reading experience to THAT book you are waiting for or that you finally read and loved. 

Velvet Was the Night read-alikes

The Best Bad Things by Katrina Marie Carrasco

Why you should try it: For another historical—although this is the 1880s, not the 1970s—starring a sleuthing, excellent, although possibly in-over-her-head, heroine.

Description: It is 1887, and Alma Rosales is on the hunt for stolen opium. Trained in espionage by the Pinkerton Detective Agency—but dismissed for bad behavior and a penchant for going undercover as a man—Alma now works for Delphine Beaumond, the seductive mastermind of a West Coast smuggling ring. When product goes missing at their Washington Territory outpost, Alma is tasked with tracking the thief and recovering the drugs.

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The Secret in Their Eyes by Eduardo Sacheri

Why you should try it: A hero to root for, a touch of romance, and 1970s government corruption (but in Argentina this time) make this a great read-alike for Velvet Was the Night.

Description: Benjamín Chaparro is a man haunted by his past. A retired detective, he remains obsessed with the decades-old case of the rape and murder of a young woman in her own bedroom. As he revisits the details of the investigation, he is reacquainted with his similarly long, unrequited love for Irene Hornos, then just an intern, now a respected judge. A meditation on the effects of the passage of time and unfulfilled desire, Eduardo Sacheri's tale is imbued with the subdued terror that characterized the Dirty War of 1970s Argentina.

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A Beautiful Young Woman by Julian Lopez

Why you should try it: While more philosophical and poignant than Velvet Was the Night, this story also looks at the effect of a missing person and their activism in a politically corrupt environment.

Description: As political violence escalates around them, a young boy and his single mother live together in an apartment in Buenos Aires—which has recently been taken over by Argentina's military dictatorship. When the boy returns home one day to find his mother missing (or "disappeared"), the story fractures, and the reader encounters him fully grown, consumed by the burden of his loss, attempting to reconstruct the memory of his mother.

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Bellini and the Sphinx by Tony Bellottto

Why you should try it: Read this for a Brazilian twist on classic noir fiction.

Description: Who is the missing dancer Ana Cíntia Lopes? Why did her coworkers, Camila and Dinéia, disappear? What does the voluptuous prostitute Fatima want? Who killed renowned surgeon Dr. Samuel Rafidjian? And what is the role of the hulking live-sex performer known as the Indian? To confront the puzzle of several sphinxes, private detective Remo Bellini plunges into the underworld of São Paulo. Little by little, the mysteries unravel in a surprising fashion, until the solving of the final enigma leaves Bellini perplexed, with a bitter taste in his mouth.

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The Twilight Zone by Nona Fernandez

Why you should try it: Though darker, this novel also plumbs the depths of dissidence in a restrictive society and makes use of popular culture.

Description: It is 1984 in Chile, in the middle of the Pinochet dictatorship. A member of the secret police walks into the office of a dissident magazine and finds a reporter, who records his testimony. The narrator is a child when she first sees this man's face on the magazine's cover with the words "I Tortured People." His complicity in the worst crimes of the regime and his commitment to speaking about them haunt the narrator into her adulthood and career as a writer and documentarian.

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Librarian Kathy

About Kathy

Kathy is a Collection Management Librarian who loves reading, sharing, and talking about books. Her missions in life are to: create communities of readers, convince folks that her official title should be "Book Pusher," and refute that "disco" is a dirty word.