“Michael Nava is America’s finest gay mystery writer.” — Anthony Slide, Gay and Lesbian Characters and Themes in Mystery Novels: A Critical Guide

Welcome to my website!

I am the author of a series of crime fiction novels featuring a gay, Latino criminal defense lawyer named Henry Rios. I am also writing a series of historical novels called The Children of Eve that begin in Mexico just before the 1910 Mexican Revolution and end in Hollywood in the early 1920s. The first novel The City of Palaces won the 2015 International Latino Book Prize in fiction and is currently available in a new edition. I am also the managing editor of Amble Press, an imprint of Bywater Books, which is committed to publishing diverse LGBTQ voices, particularly LGBTQ writers of color.

Currently Available Books

The City of Palaces: A Novel

In the years before the Mexican Revolution, Mexico is ruled by a tiny elite that apes European culture, grows rich from foreign investment, and prizes racial purity.


The Burning Plain

Rios, raw from the death of his lover from AIDS, becomes involved with a young man who is murdered after spending the night with Rios. Rios becomes a suspect in the murder. In the process of clearing himself, he is drawn into the search for a serial killer who preys on young gay men in West Hollywood. He finds himself up against a homophobic cop, a hostile DA and a conspiracy that reaches into Hollywood’s power elite.
Rag and Bone

In Rag and Bone, Rios, recovering from a heart attack, finds a family he never knew about when he’s called upon to defend the daughter his sister gave up for adoption when his niece is accused of killing her abusive husband. Publisher’s Weekly said of the novel, “Rios’s humanity and decency shine through this satisfying novel.”

Carved in Bone: A Henry Rios Novel (Henry Rios Mystery Series)

November 1984. Criminal defense lawyer Henry Rios, fresh out of rehab and picking up the pieces of his life, reluctantly accepts work as an insurance claims investigator and is immediately is assigned to investigate the apparently accidental death of Bill Ryan. Ryan, part of the great gay migration into San Francisco in the 1970s, has died in his flat of carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty gas line, his young lover barely surviving. Rios’s investigation into Ryan’s death–which Rios becomes convinced was no accident–tracks Ryan’s life from his arrival in San Francisco as a terrified 18-year-old to his transformation into a successful businessman. What begins for Rios as the search for the truth about Bill Ryan’s death becomes the search for the meaning of Ryan’s life as the tsunami of AIDS bears down on the gay community.

Carved in Bone, A Henry Rios Mystery by Michael Nava. Set in San Francisco in 1984, Rios, a gay, Latino criminal defense lawyer, fresh out of rehab is trying to put his personal and professional lives together as the tsunami of AIDS crashes down on the gay community.



Carved in Bone: Promotional Video 

Carved in Bone: Reviews

Lay Your Sleeping Head

In the first novel in the Henry Rios series, Rios a burned-out criminal defense lawyer becomes involved with Hugh Paris, the black sheep son of a legendary California family with devastating consequences.










In the fourth Rios novel, Rios returns to his hometown where he defends a pedophile accused of murder and confronts the ghosts of his own past. “Howtown is Nava’s bravest and most ambitious novel to date.” Los Angeles Times.
The Hidden Law

In the fifth Rios novel, Rios is hired to represent a young man accused of murdering a prominent but corrupt Latino politician. “A beautifully conceived but gritty novel.” The San Francisco Chronicle
The Death of Friends

In the sixth Rios novel, the murder of a closeted judge, with whom Rios once had an affair, finds Rios balancing his loyalties between the man’s family and his client, the man accused of killing the judge. “This is a brave, ambitious and highly impressive work.” Publisher’s Weekly.
Street People

Ben Manso drifts through life, working as a rent boy, until a casual encounter with an eight-year-old street kid named Bobby at a convenience store changes everything.