Title: Secret Identity
Author: Alex Segura
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: March 15, 2022
Genre: Mystery, Noir
It’s 1975 in New York City and Carmen Valdez, a queer, Cuban-American has
moved to the city to pursue her dream of writing her own superhero. But
as a secretary at Triumph Comics, she has reached an impasse, contending
with endless misogyny from her less-talented, but higher-level male colleagues.
When one of her coworkers secretly enlists her help to create Triumph’s
first female hero, “The Lethal Lynx,” Carmen’s dream nearly becomes a reality.
That is until her partner is found dead and the Lynx turns out to be a runaway
hit without Carmen’s name on the byline. Carmen is desperate to hold onto
her piece of the Lynx and to piece together what exactly happened to her colleague.
But that’s complicated by a surprise visitor from her home in Miami, a tenacious
cop who is piecing everything together too quickly for Carmen, and the tangled web of
secrets and resentments among the passionate eccentrics who write comics for a living.
What follows is a wondrously told mystery where a young woman is forced to fend for
her creative autonomy in an industry dominated by men, while also grappling with
personal demons. In Carmen’s story, Segura not only gives voice to the overlooked
and underrepresented, but he brings a critical eye to the sexist, hypermasculine,
and insular royalty that have long dominated the comics and publishing industries.
Featuring a dozen original comic book sequences (drawn by Sandy Jarrell and lettered by Taylor Esposito) interwoven into the narrative, Segura—a comics writer and Anthony-Award winning author of the Pete Fernandez series—ingeniously “merges classic noir with the three-color world of superhero comics in a way that will delight fans of both” (G. Willow Wilson).
SECRET IDENTITY has been listed as a most anticipated book of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Paste Magazine, CrimeReads, BookRiot, and more, and has received 3 starred trade reviews from Publishers Weekly, who called it “outstanding,” Booklist, who called it a “superlative one-of-a kind novel,” and Kirkus, who raved “it’s as powerful as anything since Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.”
Part metafiction, part neo-noir, part graphic novel, SECRET IDENTITY isn’t just a book, but “a full, daring experience” (Brad Meltzer).
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About the Author
Alex Segura is an acclaimed, award-winning writer of novels, comic books, short stories, and podcasts. He is the author of the noir novel, Secret Identity (Flatiron Books), Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall, and the Pete Fernandez Mystery series (including the Anthony Award-nominated crime novels Dangerous Ends, Blackout, and Miami Midnight). His short story “Red Zone” won the 2020 Anthony Award for Best Short Story, and his border noir short story, “90 Miles” was included in The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021. “90 Miles” also won the Best Short Story Anthony Award for 2021. Alex has also written a number of comic books, most notably the superhero noir The Black Ghost, the YA music series The Archies, and the “Archie Meets” collection of crossovers, featuring real-life cameos from the Ramones, B-52s, the upcoming all-ages superhero adventure The Dusk, and more. He is also the co-creator/co-writer of the Lethal Lit crime/YA podcast from iHeart Radio, which was named one of the best podcasts of 2018 by The New York Times. By day he is the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Oni Press, with previous stints at Archie Comics and DC Comics.
A Miami native, he lives in New York with his wife and children.
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“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
“Outstanding… Segura’s infectious passion for superheroes shines in this
page-turning mix of murder mystery and coming-of-age story.” —Publishers Weekly
“Segura’s fond affection for comic books comes through in this mashup of pulpy
murder mysteries and 1970s dingy New York streets.” —Silvia Moreno-Garcia,
New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic
“Alex Segura is one of the great gentlemen of crime fiction. A calm and measured
soul who happens to be a firecracker of a writer. Secret Identity is his best
yet—a glowing love letter to Serpico-era NYC and the rock and roll frontier of
the American comics industry. This is a writer at the top of his game.”
—S. A. Cosby, bestselling author of Razorblade Tears