Desiree is a fast-paced yarn set in the desolate high desert country of Northern, Nevada. Chick Corbett returns to his cabin on a cold winter evening to find Desiree Depardieu hovering over a dead body. Soon, the body and Desiree are gone and Chick sets off in pursuit. Along the way, author Douglas Keister introduces a cast of quirky characters including Basque sheepherder Elwood LeFoote and his three-legged Border Collie named Phydeaux, Chick's best friend, Tom Twotrees a six-foot-six Paiute Indian who is a member of Mensa and Chick's Uncle Ray, who sleeps suspended like a bat. The search for Desiree takes readers to a brothel in Winnemucca, Nevada, the Burning Man Festival in the Black Rock Desert, Beijing, Hong Kong and San Francisco. What is this strange woman Desiree doing in Nevada? The answer is surprising and leads to a high-level theft involving tens of millions of dollars.
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May 20, 2010
Biblio File book review: A rollicking first novel from Doug Keister By DAN BARNETT Posted: 05/20/2010 12:00:00 AM PDT Perhaps best known for his beautifully photographed books on Bungalows and classic travel trailers, Chico's Doug Keister has pulled up his sleeves and written himself a yarn. Told by one Clarence "Chick" Corbett out of Gerlach, in the northern Nevada desert, "Desiree" ($15.97 in paperback from lulu.com, http://bit.ly/cD3YNd) introduces larger-than-life characters and an international smuggling operation. Chick, in his early 20s, writes an "apology" at the start of the book. "A lot of it's true, that's for sure. Some of it's a bit of stretch. And some of it's an outright lie." Like Desiree herself. "My feelings are pretty simple," Chick writes. "I mostly feel either good or bad. Lately though, I've added a feeling. I think I'm going to call that feeling, confused. . . . I started feeling that way after I met a woman... More > named Desiree. That's Des-er-ay." She had broken into his cabin. There was also another guy there, a dead man. "I killed him," says Desiree. She was dressed as a lady of the night, "a 5-foot-6-inch angel with flowing red hair the color of sunset, large liquid green eyes and skin as smooth and soft as an old pair of Levis... She was wearing this thing that looked as though she'd been poured into it. I think my hat had more material in it than that dress..." But Desiree is not what she seems, and there unfolds a tale that involves the FBI, nefarious operations out of Beijing and Hong Kong, a raft of bad guys, and a mysterious powder. It's a fast-paced hoot. Gerlach has "just one gas station, five bars and 150 citizens occupying pretty much all the available notches on the evolutionary ladder." Uncle Ray sleeps "suspended by gravity boots." There's also Elwood LeFoote, "a grizzled Basque of indeterminate age" who herds sheep with a dog named Phydeaux and Strawberry Finches that live in his capacious beard. And Chick's best friend, Tom Twotrees, "half Navajo and half Paiute," who eschews pants in favor of "a strategically placed badger pelt." Maybe this quote from Mark Twain, on the back cover of the book, sums it up: "Douglas Keister is a masterful storyteller. If I was alive, I'm sure I'd recommend this book." Dan Barnett teaches philosophy at Butte College. To submit review copies of published books, please send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Columns are archived on the Musable blog, http://dielbee.blogspot.com.< Less
As a long-time fellow photographer, neighbor, tenant, traveling companion, sympathetic desert rat and friend of the author, Doug Keister, I had the pleasure of introducing him to the locale from which he draws his inspiration for the main setting of this book, the northern Nevada desert. This is a place where imaginations as well as creative spirits can run wild as evidenced by The Burning Man festival and other wild and crazy creative happenings which took place way before Burning Man was a mere figment of its creator's imagination. After publishing many photography books of critical acclaim, Mr Keister has set his dry wit and quirky humor to words with "Desiree", his very first novel. I've the unique advantage of having been to some of the real and fictional places referred to in the book. Now that I've got you confused with the "fictional" part, keep in mind that the northern Nevada desert is a place where there are no hard edges separating fact from fiction,... More > modern from ancient. You can stand on a mountaintop or on the playa and be in a place that feels so ancient that time as we know it does not exist, while fixing your position with your GPS, and all the while the contradiction gets buried by your here-and-now awe of the breathtaking beauty of the landscape. Speaking of landscape, Doug's stunning front and back photos of the desert are worth the purchase price alone, even if you don't open the book, but then you would be missing out on a wild and wonderful journey. Once inside, you'll be treated to romance, murder, mayhem, mystery, fantasy, reality, humor, history, archeology, geology and geography and the dry wit and wry humor which is the trademark of the author. Without giving away too much of what's inside, I will admit that one of my myths was busted by one of the most hilarious scenes in the book, the Native American sweat lodge ceremony where the teenage boys are introduced to the birds and bees and come out of it more confused than when they went in, showing that the universal language of parents of all cultures is NOT knowing how to discuss sex with their teens without using ridiculous metaphors which obfuscate rather than illuminate. I won't spoil the plot which isn't revealed until near the end, but I will say in spite of some of the fanciful to downright unbelievable events and people in the book, what is revealed at the end really could, and very likely has, happened with its implications for the environment, global trade and the ever growing threat of endangered species extinction. Buy it, read it and enjoy the ride! - Patricia Kelley, Chico, CA< Less
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