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.
Douglas gives an overview of the book:
“There’s certain things a man just knows”, my Uncle Ray used to say. “You don’t need to have one of them PhD’s. Don’t need no high-tone education, either. The way I see it, you could be raised by fancy-pants tutors or could have been raised by coyotes. Doesn’t make any difference. There’s certain things a man just knows.”
One of the things Uncle Ray taught me about, or rather didn’t have to teach me about, was rattlesnakes. I was hiking up a narrow little canyon in the Granite Mountains, just west of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. I hiked up there all the time, sometimes with Uncle Ray and sometimes with my friend Tom Twotrees. This particular time I was walking alone. It was one of those beautiful spring days. The sky was so blue it was almost black. Little rivulets of water tricked down from the melting snow. The air was chill, but everything warmed by the sun was ready to burst open. Ground squirrels and rabbits and field mice scampered all around me. All sorts of animals were warming themselves in the sun. Including ones that I didn’t see. I was walking along not really paying much attention to where I was going, just kicking rocks and scrambling up an antelope trail. I figured I’d eventually wind up at one of my favorite spots at the top of the ridge where I’d look out over the vast spaces. I’d always look out and stare and ponder, thinking that one of these days the Great Spirit was going to talk to me and tell me what I was supposed to do with my life. The truth is, the harder I try to ponder the big questions the more gray and muddy everything gets. Lately I’ve taken to calling the Great Spirit The Great Silent Spirit. Uncle Ray told me not to worry telling me the answers will come when I’m ready to hear them. Still, I worry some.
Then I heard it, and I don’t mean the Great Spirit. It was something else. I didn’t have to say to anybody (well, for one thing there wasn’t anybody to say it to) “Hey! What's that?” I knew what it was, just like Uncle Ray said. Way down deep in the core of my being a whole symphony of bells went off. Right next to my boot all curled up and making a terrible sound I can’t really explain, but I guarantee, you’ll know when you hear it, was the meanest, ugliest and angriest thing that I’d ever seen. A Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. Crotelus atrox. I stopped dead in my tracks. I didn’t move, blink, breathe or twitch. Well, since I’m writing this, I guess you know that my first encounter with Mr. Crotelus atrox worked out okay. After a respectful few frozen seconds I resumed breathing and slowly backed away. In a sign of mutual respect, Mr. Crotelus atrox slowly uncurled and went on about his business.
The story I’m about to tell you doesn’t have anything to do with reptiles, not the ground-hugging slithering kind, anyway. It does have to do with the things that a man just knows, the things that he just wishes he knew, and the things he thinks he knows, but doesn’t. Women call that stuff, intuition. Men call it gut feelings. As far as I can tell, the problem is sometimes it’s hard to separate intuition and gut feeling from wishful thinking, especially when it’s not your brain that’s doing most of the thinking. I’m sure you know what I mean.
Photographer-writer Douglas Keister, has authored and co-authored thirty-nine critically acclaimed books. He also writes and illustrates magazine articles and contributes photographs and essays to dozens of magazines, newspapers, books, calendars, posters and greeting cards...
Keister has done for cemetery exploration what Audubon did for birding.