Saturday, November 30, 2013

What You See In The Dark

Book: What You See In The Dark
Author: Manuel Munoz
Edition:  ebook
Read: Nov 2013

479 pages
Rated: 2 1/2 out of 5

There are three main stories in this book. First is Teresa, who was left alone at 17 when her mother deserted her to find her father. She meets Dan Watson and the two of them become an item until she is murdered.

 The second is Arlene, whose son escorts Teresa around Bakersfield. Dan is Arlene's son. Through the murder, she realizes what it means to lose a child.

Lastly there is the Actress and the Director who comes into Bakersfield for a short scene shot.  Not much is said about either of them, except the Director reappears 20 years later as a has been.

The first line gives a good idea of Munoz's style. It is one which relies on being indirect. Which this can get your attention, making you wonder what is coming next. But after going through a hundred pages of this, you wonder if when you will get some meat, something which you can enjoy.

Munoz does know Bakersfield of the 50's and the area pretty well. He also does describe it well, with the seasonal drifts of people in and out of the area, the type of people who inhabited the city. 

Probably the one reason why I would say to read the book is to raise the question about how you look back on your life once the excitement is over. One can never know what is important right now, only when you look back at a life lived.

  Some people say this book is a mystery/thriller. I think it is more of a book of introspection by the characters and by extension the author. I could never really enjoy the book. I do not think it was because of Munoz' lack of writing ability, but more from the voice he used and how he constructed the stories. It read more like several short stories cobbled together than a story with a unified theme. Sometimes this approach can work, but not this time.

Good Quotes:
  • First Line:  if you had been across the street, pretending to investigate the local summer roses outside of Holliday's Flower Shop, you could have seen them through the cafe's plate glass window, the two sitting in the booth by the window, eating lunch.
  • Last Line:  You wanted that girl to see something and there was no going back once she did.


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