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. 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 levels — 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 Writers of America University.In 2013, I was elected to the board of Mystery Writers of America, New York Chapter, and served as chapter president for two years. In 2018, I was appointed Bronx Council on the Arts Artist in Residence at the Morris Park Library in the Bronx, and I recently served as a judge for the 2019 PEN Open Book Awards.
• “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
• 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”
• “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
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)