Who the . . . ?

You gonna finish that?

At a bar near Port Authority. Photo by Christa Neu.

I was born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the bratty baby of the family, surrounded by crime and comic books. My father worked at the airport at nights, but during the day he was a numbers bookie, and every afternoon I sat at the kitchen table, reading the Daily News while he took calls for numbers. My mother played numbers for extra cash, but she worked as a school nurse until she was laid off. My brother and sister gave me charley horses any chance they could, but frankly I think I enjoyed the attention. It was my brother’s interest in writing that sparked my own. In competition with him, I began to write. And somehow when I went to college with the intention of becoming the first Puerto Rican astronaut, I ended up becoming an English major. Which came in handy at my first job as a porn magazine writer. I received my master’s degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and attended the Humber School for Writers on a scholarship. I have worked as a writer for most of my career, in all kinds of magazine publishing and online. I also taught at the high school and college level — including at Columbia University, New Jersey City University, the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and the Fashion Institute of Technology—and I have taught at the Mystery Writer’s of America University. As a journalist, I have written for Gallery, Cable Guide, and TV Guide. In 2013, I was elected to the board of Mystery Writers of America, New York Chapter, and served as chapter president for two years.

  • “Hating Holly Hernandez” in You Don’t Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens was called “[h]ilarious and memorable” by Kirkus Reviews
  • Roachkiller and Other Stories received the 2013 Spinetingler Award for Best Anthology/Short Story Collection and the 2013 International Latino Book Award for Best eBook/Fiction. King of the Chicanos author Mario Acevedo called it “an excellent collection. . . . I could not shake some of the images . . . . The writing is that intense.”
  • Roachkiller is an accomplished debut from an author in full and firm control of his voice. Narvaez is definitely a name to watch.”—Eva Dolan, Crime Factory
  • The short story “Roachkiller” was selected as a Distinguished Mystery Story in Best American Mystery Stories 2008, edited by George Pelecanos.
  • “If there is any justice in the world, [Narvaez] should become a giant on the literary noir scene within the next couple of years.”—Anthony Neil Smith, author of Yellow Medicine, on the story “Roachkiller”

Publication List

  • Roachkiller and Other Stories, Beyond the Page (2012)
  • Batman & Robin: Storybook, Pop-Up Book, and Activity Pad, DC Comics/Landoll (1997)
  • Total Justice Coloring & Activity Book (The Ultimate Weapon, Mission to Mars); Super Coloring & Activity Book (Against All Odds); Jumbo Coloring & Activity Book (Total Teamwork), Storybooks and Little Landoll Storybooks (And Justice for All and Justice on Apokolips), DC Comics/Landoll (1997)
  • Childhood’s Smell, Mongrel Publications (2005) (chapbook)

“The Chupacabra’s Charming Cuchifrito Cafe, Recommended Review,” Fantastic Stories of the Imagination (May 2017)
Nuyoricans Go Home,” Latino Literatures: A Cultural and Literary Journal (March 2017)
Merry Xmas from Orchard Beach,” Spinetingler (December 2016)
“Room for Rent,” Latin@ Rising: An Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy (January 2017)
“Echo, Echo,” Pure Slush, Vol. 13: Freak (December 2016)
“Pale Yellow Sun,” Sunshine Noir (September 2016)
“The Unfaithful Ghost,” Pilgrimage 39.3 (2016)
“The Old Haunt,” “How it Was Decided,” (After)life (2015)
How To Write Flash Fiction,” Punchnel’s (Winner, Flash Hybrid Noir Contest) (2015)
“Meet Me at the Clock,” Grand Central Noir (June 2013)
“To Mistress,” Out of the Gutter 8 (December 2012)
“Ending in Paumanok,” Long Island Noir (summer, 2012)
“Monkey in a Barrel,” Blackheart Magazine (summer, 2011)
“Good Fences,” Powder Burn Flash (May 2011)
“Hating Holly Hernandez,” You Don’t Have a Clue: Latino Mysteries for Teens (Arte Publico, spring 2011)
“Volcano Girl,” A Thousand Faces (November 2010)
Watching the Iguanas,” Spinetingler (August 2010)
“Old Pendejo,” TalesoftheZombieWar.com (July 2010)
“Juracán,” Indian Country Noir (Akashic Books, June 2010)
“Ibarra Goes Down,” Yellow Mama (June 2010)
Rough Night in Toronto,” Plots with Guns (May 2009)
“In the Kitchen with Johnny Albino,” Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery (Arte Publico, March 2009)
“The Helper,” Storyglossia (May 2008)
“El Bohemio,” Thrilling Detective (winter 2007)
“Roachkiller,” Murdaland Magazine (fall 2007)
“Special Forces Training, Virginia, 1996,” Flashshot (September 2007)
“The Saint Bernards,” “A Grammarian Returns from the Future,” Flashshot (August 2007)
“Unsynchronicity,” Mississippi Review, vol. 12, no. 4 (fall 2006)
“As Far away as Africa,” New Digressions (fall 1993)
“Leticia Reclining,” Faultline, University of California, Irvine, vol. 1 (spring 1993)
“The Disappearance of Doubt,” Spine Weevil (1992)

“Why I Hate Florida,” Center: A Journal of the Literary Arts (2008)
“‘Escalante’ Portrayer Sneaks into PR Day Parade,” Pocho.com, June 1999
“Capitan del Carro,” The Glovebox Chronicles, no. 5 (December 1998)
“Work Slaves for that Old-Time Religion (Money),” Downtown, no. 335 (Dec. 22–Jan.5, 1994)
“Our Minds Like Flypaper,” Downtown, no. 330 (Oct. 13–27, 1993)
“Pretense?,” Downtown, no. 328 (Sept. 29, 1993)
“The Mustache Merengue,” New York Perspectives vol. 1, no. 5 (February 23, 1990)

“Dog Star,” “Progression,” “Special Forces,” and “To The Wagon,” Writing Outside the Lines (Wild Side Press, forthcoming)
“Samhain,” “A Stomach Growls for Love,” Long Island Sounds 2008
“Papi Was a Numbers Runner,” “Metro,” and “Judgment Day,” The Lineup (2008)
“Don’t Fret,” “Flight of the Therapists,” Long Island Sounds 2007
“Inez My Dental Technician,” “Christ at 13,” RogueScholars.com (July 2005)
“Catching Cupid,” “Christ at 13,” “Eating Broccoli, 6 p.m.,” Aphros, vol. 45 (2005)
“My Father Lived in Queens,” “Lost in Woodside,” “I Know It’s True Because I Saw It on TV,” Mind Gorrilla, no. 8 (2005)
“I Saw Saddam in Brooklyn,” “Advice for Those Who Just Flew In,” “In Williamsburg, Before the Whiteys Moved In, Part 1,” “In Williamsburg, Before the Whiteys Moved in, Part 3, or Snot Cousin,” 11211 Magazine, vol. 3, no. 5 (May/June 2003)
“Long Hot Summertime Blues,” New Digressions (summer/fall 1994)
“Inez My Dental Technician” and “Your Mouth on Me Always,” Faultline: Journal of Art and Literature, University of California, Irvine, vol. 1 (spring 1993)
“Mangoes Don’t Leave,” New Digressions (fall 1993)
“Native New Yorkers,” “Better than This,” “Tale of a Gutless Mongrel,” “In the Dragon’s Room,” “Dictionary Love,” Downtown, no. 334 (Dec. 8–22, 1993)
“Los Sures,” “Old Men on Frost Street,” Cabaret, vol. 1, no. 1 (1987)

The Lineup chapbook series, coedited with Gerald So, Reed Farrel Coleman, and Sarah Cortez (2008–2010)
The Book of Moran, by Daniel Thomas Moran, Mongrel Publications (2007)
In the Days of Wonder and Taco Salads, by R. Nicholas Shaw Jr., Mongrel Publications (2006)
Sorority Girls of the Seven Seas, by Dustin Michael, Mongrel Publications (2004)
Dimension Blues, by Robert McNamara, Mongrel Publications (2004)
Corps Calleux, by Graham Everett, Street Press/Mongrel Publications (2000)
The Doc Fayth Poems, by Graham Everett, Street Press/Mongrel Publications (1998)

3 Responses to Who the . . . ?

  1. Setphen says:

    As a white guy, and a newcomer to this neighborhood, it’s been interesting to read about your childhood in Los Sures (albeit “highly fictionalized)”. I live around South 3rd and Union. It seems I’m in an embattled enclave, and I’m a bit conflicted about living here, as an outsider. I’m the face of gentrification, regardless of being poor myself. What do you think about the changes that have occurred here in the last 10 – 15 years? What else have have you written about this neighborhood?

  2. admin says:

    Actually, yes, quite extensively. I have a new ebook out now called Roachkiller and Other Stories, which collects most of my Williamsburg stories.

  3. I would love to discuss poetry and short story publishing with you! I was told Americans prefer Novels, so it is nearly impossible to publish short story collections or poetry unless you are a star!
    Thank you,

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