Currently Available Books

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.

Lay Your Sleeping Head

A completely revised edition of the first Henry Rios mystery, The Little Death, Lay Your Sleeping Head introduces Michael Nava’s singular protagonist, gay, Latino criminal defense lawyer, Henry Rios. Rios, beset my personal and professional problems, begins a passionate affair with the black sheep heir to a great California fortune who tells Rios an improbable tale of murder and sexual predation in his wealthy family. When the young man is found dead of an apparent drug overdose, Rios begins an investigation that ultimately reveals much more than that his lover’s death was murder. One reviewer said Lay Your Sleeping Head “retains all the complexity and elegance of the original novel but deepens the themes of personal alienation and erotic obsession that both honored the traditions of the American crime novel and turned them on their head.”


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.