My new comic book noir novel is out today
I can’t believe it, to be honest. The book part. Birthdays are predictable. But the book is here! As some of us know, publishing is a slow business, and it’s felt like I’ve been talking about and teasing this book for years. But now it’s out and everyone can experience my 1975 NYC comics noir, and meet our protagonist, Carmen Valdez - plus her comic book creation, The Legendary Lynx.
I’m so blown away and grateful by the response to this novel. When I first thought about writing a noir set in comics - with actual comic book pages in it! - my initial worry was “would any publisher want this?” And now, a few years later, it’s in print and out in stores, online, and anywhere you can get books. Thanks to everyone who’s supported this story about 1975 comic books, noir, New York, Miami, and - most importantly - Carmen Valdez, a character who I’ve lived with in my head for so long. Carmen’s one of my favorite characters ever - strong, driven, defiant, and impossible to pigeonhole. When she first appeared to me, I knew for sure I had to write a book with her at its center.
But look, don’t take my word for it. This book has gotten some very lovely reviews. Here are a few:
“A magnetic read, its plotline as engaging as anything DC or Marvel could create.” - The Los Angeles Times
“Witty and wholly original, the book is also surprisingly moving.” - The New York Times (Editor’s Choice)
"Segura’s book works on so many levels, it’s almost hard to keep track—as a love letter to comic books, it’s as powerful as anything since Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000). And as a thriller, it’s smart, perfectly paced, and wonderfully atmospheric—Segura captures the intense, grimy milieu of 1970s New York with aplomb. You don’t have to be a comics fan to love this novel; it’s a masterful book filled with real heart and soul. A triumph."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"Darkest noir meets the vibrant world of comics in the hands of Segura... His reverence for the medium comes across vividly here.... A superlative one-of-a-kind novel." —Booklist, Starred Review
"Outstanding... Segura’s infectious passion for superheroes shines in this page-turning mix of murder mystery and coming-of-age story." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
I’d love to see you, whether in person or virtually, on my tour in the coming weeks - you can find all my events listed here. Thanks in advance for supporting this book! I’ll be doing my sole in-person event tonight at The Strand Bookstore in NYC with Kellye and Andrea Bartz. Swing by if you can!
I don’t want to make this newsletter a mirror of my acknowledgements (read them in the book!), but there are some folks that deserve special thanks. This book has been a journey, and despite the credit on the front, it was not one I completed alone. Huge thanks to Sandy Jarrell, for his amazing art, guidance, and expertise in crafting the novel’s comic book sequences. Also very grateful to letterer Taylor Esposito for his thoughtful work on those pages. I’m forever in the debt of my editor, Zack Wagman, for his sharp eye and passion for this project. I knew early on that Zack was the perfect person to edit this book, and I was more right than I could ever know. Big thanks to the entire Flatiron Books team, too, especially Maxine Charles, Christopher Smith, Erin Kibby, Nancy Trypuc, and Marlena Bittner. Their support, expertise, and work elevated this book in so many ways, large and small.
I’d also love to thank my agent, Josh Getzler, at HG Literary for being an advocate for this book before it even existed, and to Jonathan Cobb and the entire HG Literary team for their support and energy.
To my supremely talented (and patient) writers group - I also owe a ton. You need to buy Kellye Garrett’s Like A Sister and Amina Akhtar’s Kismet immediately. And I know whatever Liz Little crafts next will be equally stunning. They were there throughout this journey and deserve some of the credit for this book’s success - I doubt I would’ve finished without them.
And, of course, I owe it all to my wife, Eva, our kids, and my extended family for their endless love and support. Thank you!
The term “dream come true” is bandied about almost to the point of not meaning anything, but it certainly fits in this case. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this book would exist, much less resonate. When I first had the idea of writing a novel with comics blended into the prose, I was just a college student mesmerized by Michael Chabon’s fascinating The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Years later, as I finished a series of acclaimed private eye novels, my mind returned to the idea - and it became the spark that eventually turned into Secret Identity. It’s very rare in life that we get to create something exactly as we imagined, or to write a book that you yourself would devour as a reader, but I’ve been blessed to have both experiences here with Secret Identity. I’m grateful to all the people who helped make this possible and to the readers who will hopefully enjoy Carmen’s adventures and what’s to come next.