Carmen Valdez

Created by Alex Segura

Okay, so… Alex Segura’s Secret Identity (2022) is not a private eye novel per se, but it’s painfully clear where its protagonist, frizzled and frazzled 1970s comic book writer CARMEN VALDEZ, is getting her inspiration from when her writing partner is murdered and she decides to poke around a little.

A favourite on many Best-of-the-Year lists for 2022 (including mine), Carman is right up there at the top of the list of my favourite accidental eyes. She’s smart, she’s savvy, witty and gritty, and–working in the trenches of the always volatile, often nasty  comic book industry–she knows where the bodies are (or should be) buried.

And the fact there are comic sequences built right into the book just brings it all home.

Not that her creator doesn’t know how many beans make five, or is clueless about the Shamus Game–or the comics biz, for that matter. By the time he wrote Secret Identity he already had  the acclaimed Pete Fernandez series of P.I. novels and a number of comic books (The Black Ghost, The Archies, etc.) under his belt. A Miami native, he lives in New York City with his wife and children.


  • “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 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)



  • Amateur Hour
    Official Occupations of Some Popular Accidental Eyes
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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