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Tidewater Review by Anne Stinson

What You See In The Dark by Manuel Muñoz. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. 251 pages. $23.95. Life is stranger than fiction, and this novel combines both in a taut, engrossing story of love, death and missed chances in a 1950s setting in the small town of Bakersfield, just over the hill from Los Angeles. As the reader follows the action, Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Psycho comes to mind. It’s not an accident. The fictional treatments are based on a real event. At the heart of this story are four women, all different, all affected by yearning and insecurity, or loneliness and a search for love, or escape from shame. One is a Hollywood actress, only identified as Actress, who comes to town on a search for location shots of a motel. Another is a waitress and motel owner, Mrs. Watson. One is Teresa, a young Latino woman who works in the back room of a shoe store. Her co-worker, briefly identified as

Candy, sees all but never tells all. Muñoz is as observant as a camera lens. His characters are drawn with spot-on veracity. The Actress is brilliant in her admiration for the Director. She trusts him implicitly, in spite of being

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Tidewater Times June 2011  

June 2011 Tidewater Times

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