The second book in ‘Homegrown,’ Valley Public Radio’s book club about the San Joaquin Valley, is ‘What You See in the Dark,’ by Dinuba native Manuel Muñoz.

‘What You See In The Dark,’ by Dinuba native Manuel Munoz, is the next book in Valley Public Radio’s ‘Homegrown’ book club.

The novel follows a director and actress who arrive in Bakersfield in the late 1950s to film a movie at a motel along the old Highway 99. Meanwhile, a love affair between the motel owner’s son and a Mexican-American woman becomes dramatic and deadly. The story is tied to the movie ‘Psycho,’ which includes scenes filmed along the 99 between Bakersfield and Fresno.

When author Anne Fadiman first visited Merced in the late 1980s, she says more than 10,000 Hmong refugees and their children were living there. At that time, about one out of every six people living in Merced was Hmong, she says.

The hospitals were overwhelmed by the new refugee population, she recalls. Medical interpretation was not legally mandated at that time, and Merced Community Medical Center had just one Hmong interpreter. It often fell to the hospital janitor, or a family’s young child, to translate sensitive medical information to a patient.