Currently Available Books

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.

The Rios novels are also available as audiobooks through Audible.



The Henry Rios Novels

  • The Little Death (1986)
  • Goldenboy (1988)
  • Howtown (1990, revised edition 2019)
  • The Hidden Law (1992, revised edition 2019)
  • The Death of Friends (1996, revised edition 2019)
  • The Burning Plain (1998)
  • Rag and Bone (2000)
  • Lay Your Sleeping Head (2016)
  • Street People (2017)
  • Carved in Bone (2019)

The Children of Eve Novels

  • The City of Palaces 

Short Stories

  • “Street People“ in Finale: Short Stories of Mystery and Suspense (ed., Michael Nava ) (1989)
  • “Grief“  in Certain Voices (ed. Darryl Pilcher) (1991)



  • Created Equal: Why Gay Rights Matter to America (with Robert Dawidoff) (1994)


  • “Gardenland” in Hometowns: Gay Men Write About Where They Belong (ed. John Preston) (1991)
  • “Abuelo” in A Member of the Family: Gay Men Write About Their Families (ed. John Preston)(1994)
  • “Coming Out and Born Again” in Wrestling With the Angel: Faith and Religion in the Lives of Gay Men (ed. Brian Bouldrey) (1995)
  • “The Marriage of Michael and Bill” in Friends and Lovers: Gay Men Write About the Families They Create (ed. Michael Lowenthal) (1996)
  • “Boys Like Us” in Boys Like Us: Gay Writers Tell Their Coming Out Stories (ed. Patrick Merla) ( 1997)
  • “Charity” in Las Christmas: Favorite Latino Authors Share Their Holiday Memories (ed. Esmeralda Santiago) (1998)
  •  “A Diamonds Is Forever “  in Love, Castro Street: Reflections of San Francisco (eds. Katherine V. Forrest, James Van Buskirk)  (2007)


  • “Sixteen Poems” in The Chicano/Latino Literary Prize: An Anthology of Prize-Winning Fiction, Poetry and Drama (ed. Stephanie Fetta) (2008)

About Michael Nava (Selected Bibliography)

  • “Michael Nava” in Contemporary Gay American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook by George Klawitter (ed. Emmanuel S. Nelson) (1993)
  • “Michael Nava” in Gay and Lesbian Characters and Themes in Mystery Novels by Anthony Slide (1993)
  • “Sexuality Degree Zero: Pleasure and Power in the Novels of John Rechy, Arturo Islas and Michael Nava” in Critical Essays: Gay and Lesbian Writers of Color by Ricardo L. Ortiz (ed. Emmanuel S. Nelson) (1993)
  • “Michael Nava” in Something Inside: Conversation With Gay Fiction Writers by Philip Gambone (1999)
  • “Michael Nava” in Brown Gumshoes: Detective Fiction and the Search for Chicano/a Identity by Ralph Rodriguez (2005)
  • “Michael Nava” in Chicano Detective Fiction: A Critical Study of Five Novelists by Susan Baker Sotelo (2005)
  • “Michael Nava” in Spilling the Beans in Chicanolandia: Conversations With Writers and Artists by Frederick Aldama (2006)
  • “A Gay Mystery Writer Who Chronicles the Aftermath of AIDS” in the New Yorker by Garth Greenwell (9/11/2015)