Richie Narvaez was born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the bratty baby of the family, surrounded by crime and comic books. His father worked at the airport at nights and during the day was a numbers bookie. Narvaez’s mother worked as a school nurse until she was laid off. Narvaez’s brother and sister gave him charley horses every chance they could, but frankly he enjoyed the attention. It was his brother’s interest in writing that sparked his own. And somehow when he went to college with the intention of becoming the first Puerto Rican astronaut, he ended up becoming an English major. Narvaez received a master’s degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and attended the Humber School for Writers on a scholarship.
Narvaez has worked as a writer for most of his career, in all kinds of publishing, in print and online. He also taught at the high school and college levels — including at Columbia University, New Jersey City University, the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and the Fashion Institute of Technology — and has taught at the Mystery Writers of America University. In 2013, he was elected to the board of Mystery Writers of America, New York Chapter, and served as chapter president for two years. In 2018, he was appointed Bronx Council on the Arts Artist in Residence at the Morris Park Library in the Bronx, and he recently served as a judge for the 2019 PEN Open Book Awards.
His first book, Roachkiller and Other Stories, received the Spinetingler Award for Best Collection. His book Noiryoirican was nominated for an Anthony Award, and his book Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco received an Agatha Award and an Anthony Award.
“[Noiryorican] strikes an authentic tone of the streets that rings true to my seasoned ear. The array of characters encompasses the Nuyorican experience devoid of sentiment or artifice. Congratulations, Richie. Score one for the home team.”— Edwin Torres, author of Carlito’s Way
“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
King of the Chicanos author Mario Acevedo called Roachkiller “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
“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”
“Narvaez’s ‘Withhold the Dawn’ from Tiny Crimes is “deliciously gruesome”
“[Narvaez] has one of the most interesting and compelling writing styles I’ve come across in years.”
—Lawrence Kelter, author of Back to Brooklyn and editor of Black Car Business, Vol. 1 and 2
Noiryorican, Down and Out Books (2020)
Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco, Piñata Books/Arte Publico (2020)
Hipster Death Rattle, Down and Out Books (2019)
Roachkiller and Other Stories (Beyond the Page, 2012; Street Press, 2020)
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)