Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-García follows in the footsteps of literary greats Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley, and Bram Stoker, but offers up gothic with a Latinx spin. The story begins when 1950’s Mexican socialite, Noemí Taboada, receives a rambling and disturbing note from her recently married cousin, Catalina. Worried about Catalina’s physical and mental health, Noemí’s father sends her to visit her cousin in the Mexican countryside, promising her that she can enroll at the National University upon her return to Mexico City.
Shortly after arriving in the sparsely populated town of El Triunfo, Noemí is driven up the dreary mountainside to High Place, the isolated and crumbling manor belonging to Catalina’s new husband, Virgil Doyle. With Catalina in an almost-catatonic state, Noemí finds it difficult to determine what is real and what is not at High Place. Virgil and his secretive family are British holdovers from when mining was king in Mexico. With the Doyle family fortune and home in ruins, Noemí wonders if Virgil married Catalina for her large inheritance or if there are other, more sinister forces at play.
Moreno-García has crafted a brilliant horror novel which critiques society in a similar vein to Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. The story thoughtfully examines race, class, family dysfunction, colonialism, and the male-female power dynamic while delivering a psychological thriller that packs a punch.
Asked to describe the ideal reader for Mexican Gothic, Moreno-García tweeted, “That would be the reader looking for something classy but trashy and ooooh, the spooky loooky.”
I couldn’t put this book down and stayed up late to read its thrilling conclusion. If you enjoy fantastically written tales involving plucky heroines, dastardly villains, and creepy castles, pick this one up. You won’t regret it.
Writer Jessica Laine
Sisters in Crime award winner Jessica Laine writes contemporary Latinx crime fiction and horror. Her work has been published in the Anthony-nominated anthologies, Murder-A-Go-Go’s and Pa’ Que Tu Lo Sepas. A proud member of the Crime Writers of Color, she tweets @msjessicalaine. Learn more at https://jessicalainebooks.com/.
This review originally appeared at R.V. Reyes’ Latinx Popular Fiction.