La Habana, Cuba, 1959

A Madrid resident since 1960, José Carlos Somoza completed a Medical Degree and specialised in Psychiatry, although he has worked as a writer full-time since 1994. Scriptwriter, dramatist and novelist, his fiction has won several prizes, including La Sonrisa Vertical, the Café Gijón, the Fernando Lara and the Hammett Prizes. In 2000, his novel Dafne desvanecida was a runner-up for the Premio Nadal, and two years later La caverna de las ideas won the Gold Dagger for the best crime novel, was translated into over twenty languages, and was very well received by critics worldwide. He is an honorary member of Nocte, the Asociación Española de Escritores de Terror. He has also written several plays for the theatre and a radio play, which won the Premio Margarita Xirgu in 1994.

  • "José Carlos Somoza does not believe in realism. His work, so brilliant and disturbing, aspires to establish an autonomous reality." Juan Manuel de Prada
  • "Somoza is an expert in sophisticated fiction, in which terror, elegance and effectiveness envelop the reader from start to finish." Víctor Andresco, Babelia
  • "José Carlos Somoza transgresses genres, he gambles with meta-literature." El Mundo
  • "It is exactly in his mastery, that is to say, in that difficult art of passing through what has already been passed through, but with a feeling of specialness and brilliance, that much of the attraction of his literary output lies." La Vanguardia
  • “Literate, savvy, tense, and thoughtful with plenty of atmosphere. It is a pleasure to read a José Carlos Somoza novel.” Steve Berry


Cuando despiden a su madre por una negligencia medica, la joven Faith y su familia se mudan al oscuro pueblo de Ravenheart. Desde el principio, la joven tiene pesadillas y no se fía de nadie, aún menos del inquietante señor Tamerland, que parece estar en todas partes.

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A locked-room crime mystery where the imagination of Sherlock Holmes merges with the world of Alice in Wonderland.

The members of staff at the Clarendon, the Portsmouth sanatorium, are unaware that two of the most extraordinary men of their time count among their inmates... 

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A locked-room crime mystery where the imagination of Sherlock Holmes merges with the world of Alice in Wonderland.

The members of staff at the Clarendon, the Portsmouth sanatorium, are unaware that two of the most extraordinary men of their time count among their inmates. On the one hand, there is a new patient, the Reverend Charles Dodgson, better known by the pseudonym under which he has written a book that has become a resounding success in England: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. On the other hand, there is Mr X, an arrogant, intractable blind man whom only the affable nurse Anne McCarey can cope with - and she even seems to admire him. She is one of the few people capable of seeing beyond Mr X's facade, for he possesses a miraculous capacity for deduction that enables him to solve mysteries without leaving his room, where he lives in seclusion. 

In this second instalment of the series, Mr X has to push his extravagant methods to the limit to find out who is behind a series of horrible crimes inspired by the imagination of Lewis Carroll. 

Somoza is back and at his best with the first book in a trilogy inspired by the adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

England, 1900s. Nurse Anne McCarey, weary of life in London and fleeing a stormy relationship, accepts a job caring for a patient at an exclusive clinic for the mentally ill in Southsea, in the coastal city of Portsmouth. For someone with her experience, the work couldn’t be easier.

But what she finds there isn’t what she expected. The patient, identified simply as “Mr X”, can discover the deepest secrets of the people around him without leaving his room, which is always dark.

Added to this duo is the young Dr Arthur Conan Doyle, who comes to the clinic to attend to Mr X. He’s practicing medicine in Southsea and developing a character for his next novel: the most famous fictional detective of all time. Only Anne and Dr Doyle will be prepared to decipher the enigmatic Mr X’s riddles. These appear to be the key to solving the murders just beginning to rock the city of Portsmouth, with its outrageous plays, underworld of clandestine theatres, and illicit performances.

“Simply fascinating, Doyle himself would be proud” Crónicas Literarias

José Carlos Somoza inquires in the deepest holmesian myth to dive into the origins of the charachter created by sir Arthur Conan Doyle through a superb reinterpretation of the famous detective” ABC

"Somoza joue avec le lecteur comme le chat avec la souris. Les retournements de situation sont nombreux et impressionnants. Bref, on prend un grand plaisir à lire le premier volet de cette série prometteuse." Bruno Corty, Le Figaro Littéraire

"Thriller absolu, son opus holmésien offre aussi une formidable réflexion sur le théâtre, sur son caractère cathartique, mais aussi toxique quand il est détourné en « théâtre mental » et utilisé pour manipuler les êtres. À travers les personnages croisés de Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle et de Monsieur X., José Carlos Somoza met en relief la fragile frontière qui sépare le génie de la folie. Étude en noir est un roman génial et fou." Philippe Chevilley, Les echos Wee-end 

José Carlos Somoza returns to the literary thriller genre of his bestseller books with a real story about a Spanish spy in the North of Africa during the 50s.

A well-known writer receives a mysterious manuscript that his bookseller friend sends him. It is over two hundred pages long, typewritten and dated in 1957. The assignment is very specific: he needs to read it in less than 24 hours.

Intrigued, the novelist starts reading it, and he stumbles upon a story about secrets and betrayals told by Ángel Carvajal, a Spanish soldier from the La Falange that used to be a spy in the North of Africa. 

 « Avec L'Origine du Mal, José Carlos Somoza avance magistralement dans le dédale géopolitique du Maghreb de l’après-guerre. » Damien Aubel, Transfuge 

« Avec grand talent, José Carlos Somoza vient encrer l’histoire dans le présent grâce à une volte-face inattendue donnant une suite aux événements passés. L’Origine du Mal est une fascinante histoire d’amitié et de trahison, mais aussi un excellent roman qui met en lumière les intrigues des services secrets espagnols en terres marocaines. » Elena Paz, Que Tal Paris ? 

« C’est passionnant ! » « Jusqu’où peut-on aller ? Comment peut-on trahir un ami proche, rompre une amitié ? C’est un texte sur la vengeance, sur le désespoir. »« Il est absolument maginifique (…), quel bonheur de lecture et quel plaisir de lire un grand auteur ! » France Bleu Maine, « C’est l’happy hour », le 1er /11

On 6 September in an unknown year in the near future strange events start happening around the world: animals suddenly crowd together in groups, human beings move crazy, mixed with animals and insects, destroying everything, including themselves.

In Spain, a group of characters receive a note sent by the biologist Carlos Mandel, two years before he commits suicide: Nico Reinosa, a former policeman, painter and former lover of Mandel, is asked to protect in a laboratory people who were close to Mandel. World leaders flee in terror around the world, but also end up succumbing to the effects of destructive behaviour. People in the laboratory have a recording where Mandel tells them he foresaw this situation, like the mythical Croatoan that wiped out an entire population in the sixteenth century. The aim of the meeting in the laboratory is to find something that could save them.

Somoza's novels often take the reader on a journey into a horrible world, but Croatoan goes further toward an apocalyptic novel.  The title refers to the word that is found engraved on a tree where an entire population in the sixteenth century mysteriously disappeared.

"Extremely subtle and intelligent…. Totally absorbing." Evening Standard

"An ornate rumination on the razor-thin line between satisfying one’s scientific curiosity and violating the laws of nature." Booklist

"Literate, savvy, tense and thoughtful with plenty of atmosphere. It’s a pleasure to read a Jose Carlos Somoza novel." Steve Berry, New York Times

"Somoza’s tale is as disturbing as it is fascinating. It is a highly rewarding, intelligent and thought-provoking read." The Review Zoo




"José Carlos Somoza displays an unhurried style and a refreshing appreciation for advance science." Entertainment Weekly

Welcome to Organo, the place where you can be someone better

Maria has always been reluctant to connect to Organo, but after numerous unsuccessful job interviews she sees this virtual world as her only chance to find a decent paying job. So, while her little girl sleeps in another room, Maria sits in front of the computer, selects an avatar representing everything she would like to be, and enters Madrid’s virtual world under a new identity, with a hot, sensual new image. 

Organo offers all manner of opportunities, pleasures and desires difficult to obtain in the real world. This explains why most people are hooked on it, but Maria will soon discover that it also entails all kinds of dangers. Not only will her clumsy hands be responsible for saving her own life and that of her daughter, but the future of all mankind.

Madrid. A brutal terrorist attack. A bleak future. The Spectator, the greatest and wildest murderer of all time, is on the loose. The police are searching him. Police methods have changed. The technology does not work. It has to look inside, in the mind, in the wishes of the murderer. For this they use baits, experts in human behaviour, trained to know the affiliates of criminals and manipulate them through masks. Diana Blanco is the best, the most prepared, the only one who can catch The Spectator. When the protagonist discovers that her sister has been kidnapped by the killer, she will start a race against the clock to save her that will lead her to the monster's lair. From this moment a thrilling game of suspicion triggers and will lead the main character to a surprising ending full of action and eroticism.

Una novela que contiene un secreto. Una llave que el lector tendrá que encontrar. La vida rutinaria de Daniel Kean, joven empleado ferroviario, queda marcada para siempre cuando en un día normal de trabajo descubre a un pasajero con una bomba adherida a su cuerpo. Antes de que pueda reaccionar, el extraño le propone un arriesgado trato. A partir de ese momento, la familia de Daniel estará en peligro, y la única posibilidad de salvarles residirá en descubrir quiénes se esconden tras el atentado terrorista del tren. Un thriller futurista donde Somoza, utilizando técnicas narrativas de los juegos de rol, evoca un universo de sombras cuya explicación final dejará sin aliento al lector. Y también es un trepidante viaje a los entresijos de la fe, una reflexión sobre lo que implica matar en nombre de las creencias y una revelación de lo que realmente se oculta tras ellas.

While an advanced physics graduate student at one of the most prestigious universities in Europe, Elisa Robledo, a young physics professor was invited to join a select research team working on manipulating String Theory, making it possible to witness images of the past as if they were live and actually happening. According to the team's research, breaking down particles of light, and accessing the code hidden within each fragment, they theorized that the possibility of witnessing the past, viewing such milestone events as of the crucifixion of Christ, or the earth when dinosaurs still roamed. Scurried away on a remote island in the Indian Ocean, they made leaping advancements in their analysis. Yet, their experiments resulted in something much more frightening and dangerous than any of them could have ever imagined. The team awoke something dangerous in their meddling into the fluctuation of Time.

Now, years later, Elisa is faced with solving the mysterious and gruesome deaths of each member of the team she was once so proud to be a part of. Something or someone has focused their sights on Elisa and her former academic fellowship. In order to solve the mystery behind what the team's experiments awoke and just who or what is behind the dark forces trailing the once team's every move, Elisa must discover what really happened on the island where her team was once sequestered, and where she had naively thought their dedicated science was meant for good.

En un pueblo de veraneo de la costa andaluza proliferan las bandas juveniles. Allí también fue donde se vio por última vez a una joven madrileña que desapareció un día de su colegio sin previo aviso. Se trata de la hija de un magnate que ha hecho su fortuna gracias a la corrupción y la intimidación. ¿Ha desaparecido de forma voluntaria? ¿Es un secuestro? ¿Un asesinato? El magnate encarga la búsqueda de su hija a uno de sus antiguos matones en horas bajas, con exceso de peso y lleno de fatigas. A la búsqueda se suma la tutora escolar de la joven, una mujer de profundas convicciones morales y un presente del que quiere huir. Juntos, estos dos personajes contrapuestos intentaran desbrozar un misterio que se complica con cada descubrimiento.

Salomón Rulfo, an unemployed literature teacher and poet traumatized by a painful episode in his life, suffers the same disturbing and horrifying nightmare night after night, in which a woman is brutally murdered after a strange ritual. When the same woman who appears every night in his dreams is found dead under identical circumstances, Salomón sneaks into the crime scene to investigate. There he meets Rachel, a young prostitute who claims she also dreamed about the murder. Accompanied by Rachel and one of his former professors, Salomón enters a dark, chilling world governed by muses who’ve inspired poets throughout history, where words and poetry are an extremely powerful weapon.

La dama número trece was adapted into a film by the Spanish director Jaume Balagueró with the title Muse (Filmax, 2017).

Teaser of the film 'Muse' by Jaume Balagueró

In 2006, the art world has moved far beyond sheep in formaldehyde and the most avant-garde movement is to use living people as artwork. Undergoing weeks of preparation to become 'canvases', the models are required to stay in their pose for ten to twelve hours a day and, as art pieces, they are also for sale. After being exhibited, the 'canvases' can be bought and taken to the purchaser's home, where they are rented for weeks or months. Many beautiful young men and women long to become a 'canvas' - knowing they are a masterpeice and worth millions seems to make all the sacrifices worthwhile - especially if they can be 'painted' by the celebrated artist Bruno Van Tysch. But there is a darker side to this art movement when it is found that the models/works of art are sometimes used in interactive works - snuff movies, where the 'art' is filmed being tortured and killed. Van Tysch's work is being targeted and the investigators must find the killer before the displays of imitations of Rembrandt's masterpieces - the biggest exhibition of 'hyperdramatic art' yet seen - is put on show.

Dafne desvanecida talks about a famous writer who suffers from amnesia because of an accident and who must reconstruct his past from the notes of his own notebooks, where he never distinguishes very well between reality and fiction. From here, the plot becomes the delusional search for a time and identity marked by the paradox, humor and absurdity.

The Macallan Gold Dagger For Fiction 2002

In classical Athens, one of the pupils of Plato's Academy is found dead. Suspecting this wasn't an accident, his teacher asks Herakles, the 'Decipherer of Enigmas', to investigate. A second plot unfolds in parallel through the footnotes of the translator of the text.

Con un hijo enfermo y una esposa infiel, Javier Verdaguer, oscuro contable de una compañía de seguros, encuentra en la Filmoteca Soledad el refugio donde sobrellevar sus miserias. Su búsqueda insaciable, en extrañas tiendas para coleccionistas, de objetos relacionados con su venerada Jodie Foster, lo conduce hasta personajes enajenados, como el, por otros mitos cinematográficos.

Allí coincide con un anciano que se parece a Borges, un joven obsesionado con Charlot y una secta de cinéfilos que programan interminables sesiones de la misma película y cuya máxima ambición es «atravesar la pantalla». Con los límites entre realidad y ficción desdibujados, Javier decide unirse a la secta y someterse a una espeluznante sesión de El silencio de los corderos, de la que acaso nunca logre escapar.

Una trama tan inteligente como inquietante, en la que el autor da rienda suelta a su poderío narrativo y a su capacidad para abrirse paso en el límite entre la vida y la muerte. Las cartas que recibe una mujer en un pueblo, en la que un desconocido declara su deseo de matarla, se convierten en un ajustado juego narrativo que eleva a la escritura al rango de espejo y metáfora del destino humano.

El detalle está narrada por el loco «oficial» de Roquedal, Baltasar Párraga. Pese a su fama de enajenado, su obsesión, paradójicamente, resulta mucho más racional que la de Roimar. Haciendo de improvisado detective, Párraga investiga una serie de muertes acaecidas en su pueblo y atribuidas por todos a causas naturales.

Siempre el mismo día de la semana, y siempre a la misma hora, Héctor, un solitario y maduro profesor de piano, se reúne con la misteriosa y joven Blanca, y juntos van inventando y escenificando todas las ceremonias que el deseo les ordena celebrar. Héctor, mientras escribe un ensayo sobre Chopin, se recrea, en la vivencia de sus sofisticadas creaciones eróticas. No obstante, una trivial consulta a una psiquiatra, Verónica, va a trastornar el solitario y ritualizado mundo de Héctor, tan elaboradamente satisfactorio. Y sobre el desorden de las pasiones que Héctor no puede, ni quiere ya, controlar planeará inexorablemente el enigmático silencio de Blanca...

Short stories and novellas

Soledad, una tímida niña preadolescente cree que es invisible para su familia, sus compañeras de clase, incluso su profesora. Durante una excursión del colegio, se queda rezagada y cruza una puerta que la llevará hasta una estancia en la que encuentra a cuatro adultos sentados en círculo y contando historias en una atmósfera de irrealidad y misterio. De pie frente a ellos, Soledad percibe una ligera amenaza con tintes sexuales, pero siente curiosidad y decide permanecer allí y ver adónde lleva este misterioso cuarteto. A través de estas historias Soledad va despojándose de su identidad mientras desafía al círculo literario descifrando las claves ocultas en sus enigmáticas narraciones. Somoza recrea un ambiente de novela gótica y de terror, de suspense creciente, una red de historias perturbadoras que se abren como cajas prodigiosas para descubrir otros mundos, unidos por el pecado, la tentación, la lascivia, el mal. Libre de culpa, Soledad tendrá que atreverse a imaginar su propia historia para cerrar el círculo de Tetrammeron. 

Si creen que el olvido es el mayor de los temores y que la muerte acecha no sólo en lo corporal, estos relatos les resultarán deliciosamente inquietantes. Tras asombrarse con los extraños casos del doctor Palomares, el médico ciego más vidente y quizá también la creación más entrañable de Somoza, descubrirán a continuación una selva de seres abrumados que, pese a todo, intentan ocultar sus íntimas verdades: un controlador de museo que nota un cambio insólito en un cuadro, una pintora que se identifica con sus muebles o un padre desdibujado por los tormentos del incesto. El clímax, en el cierre del volumen, es un homenaje a Córdoba, una ciudad mágica y espectral donde tres personas deciden apearse de la vida consciente y desaparecer de un modo nada físico y sí muy turbador.


La probable existencia de una obra de teatro de Shakespeare titulada Cardenio da pie a José Carlos Somoza para reflexionar sobre la relación creativa y espiritual que unió a dos contemporáneos y grandes genios de la literatura: Miguel de Cervantes y William Shakespeare.

En Miguel Will encontramos al gran William y a sus actores enfrentándose a todos sus fantasmas para llevar a cabo la magna empresa de llevar El Quijote a escena.

Books for children and young readers

Cuando despiden a su madre por una negligencia medica, la joven Faith y su familia se mudan al oscuro pueblo de Ravenheart. Desde el principio, la joven tiene pesadillas y no se fía de nadie, aún menos del inquietante señor Tamerland, que parece estar en todas partes. El único que la entiende es Frost, un misterioso compañero de instituto que la defiende en varias ocasiones. Pero cuando Faith descubre un extraño culto a Edgar Allan Poe, las desapariciones de personas y la terrible verdad sobre Tamerland, decide huir. El pueblo entero se lo impide y la atrapan antes de que pueda alejarse. Nadie abandona Ravenheart…

Other genres

Prólogo a las obras El misterio del cuarto amarillo y El perfume de la dama.


  • 2023 - Premio a Trayectoria BMB (Black Mountain Bossóst)
  • 2022 - Premio de Honor IV Golem Fest
  • 2007 - Special mention in the ‘Celsius 232 Prize’ (for the best Spanish-language work of science fiction or fantasy), for La llave del abismo at the 21st Semana Negra in Gijón
  • 2007 - Premio Ciudad de Torrevieja for a Novel, for La llave del abismo
  • 2004 - Flintyxan Prize for the best historic police procedural novel, awarded to La caverna de las ideas by the Swedish Association of Crime Writers
  • 2003 - French Booksellers' Prize, for Clara y la penumbra
  • 2002 - The Macallan Gold Dagger for Fiction 2002, a prize awarded by the UK Crime Writers' Association, for La caverna de las ideas
  • 2002 - Hammett Prize for crime-writing, for Clara y la penumbra
  • 2001 - Premio Fernando Lara for his novel Clara y la penumbra
  • 2000 - Short-listed for the Premio Nadal for Dafne desvanecida
  • 1998 - Premio Café Gijón for La ventana pintada
  • 1997 - Premio Cervantes de Teatro (INAEM), in 1997, for Miguel Will, which premiered at the Festival de Teatro de Almagro, and was a great success. That play was later put on at the Teatro de la Comedia, in Madrid
  • 1996 - “La Sonrisa Vertical” Erotic Novel Prize, organised by the Tusquets publishing house, for Silencio de Blanca
  • 1994 - Second “Gabriel Sijé” Short Novel Prize for Planos
  • 1994 - Premio Margarita Xirgu for radio plays, organised by Radio Exterior de España and the Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana, for his first work, Langostas