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Publisher's Summary

Shamus Award winner and Edgar Award nominee Don Winslow combines breathless suspense, zany wit, and whiplash action in his latest novel featuring grad student/private eye Neal Carey. Now Neal is assigned to escort monkeyish octogenarian Natty Silver home from Las Vegas to Palm Springs. Natty, once a burlesque top banana, has a nonstop barrage of corny jokes, an eye for an aging cocktail waitress, and a chronic disappearing act.

When Neal catches up with him, he can see why Natty doesn’t want to go home. Sole witness to a crime, he’s now the quarry of hard-faced suits, a fascist con artist, and a career-track assassin. And bodyguard Neal—scorching through the trackless desert at 80 miles per hour, brooding on his inner child by freezing starlight, and looking down the barrel of one gun too many—is soon dodging vultures and on the brink of a surprise watery grave.

©1996 Don Winslow (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“[Winslow] has a way with crisp dialogue…and the laughs keep coming.” ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about While Drowning in the Desert

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Multi-faceted author with skills

If you’ve never read anything by Don Winslow....well, I’m sorry. Do yourself a favor and remedy that problem. Pick a book. Any book. You won’t be disappointed.

The thing about Drowning in the Desert, though, is that it’s as much a comedy as a detective novel, & the bulk of Winslow’s work has a darker edge. So this is more fun than his typical fare. He has some serious comic chops.

Enjoy. And definitely check out his entire body of work. It’s outstanding.

5 people found this helpful

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My Favorite of the Five, But Too Short

I enjoyed the Neal Carey series. The first one got me hooked with the sense of humor, then the next three were good, but not as funny. All of the humor that Winslow can write with came back in this book. I laughed outloud several times, I had friends listen to a couple sections that just cracked me up. I also enjoyed the growth of Neal and Karen's relationship.

I was disappointed that this book was so short. I generally won't waste a credit on a book that is under 5 hours, as it feels like I don't get my $11 worth. I was mad for two days when this ended because it felt like the story had the legs to continue. So this book is a gem, but a gem with a flaw.

2 people found this helpful

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Too funny!

I honestly can’t tell who had more fun delivering this audiobook, Don Winslow writing it or Joe Barrett performing it. Both are genius. I’ve seen Rodney Dangerfield and Henny Youngman in person, and Natty Silver had me laughing out loud. In fact, I laughed so loud that I scared the dog & woke up my wife; both tasks are all but impossible at 3AM! But I did it! 👍🏻 Thanks Don. Thanks Joe.

1 person found this helpful

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Don Winslow becomes Carl Hiaasen?

The early Neal Carey mysteries were real thrillers with a wise-cracking hero (think Robert Parker's Spencer). Over time they became more humor and less thriller. In the latest Carey, Winslow turns into Carl Hiaasen with a more fun than thrilling plot complete with improbable, over-the-top amusing villains. The previous Carey novels all had a bit of the absurd and enjoyable humorous moments, but it appears that Winslow has decided it's more fun to write humor than thrills. The plot - if one cares - involves Neil Carey babysitting a former vaudeville comedian pursued by two unlikely villains. As a big fan of Carl Hiaasen, I thoroughly enjoyed this new lighter touch.

1 person found this helpful

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Neal Carey Mysteries

The Neal Carey Mysteries consist of four novels, plus one novella, totaling approximately 40 hours of listening in unabridged audiobook format. All narrated by Joe Barrett, released from 2008 - 2011 by Blackstone Audio, Inc. This review addresses the entire series. Sequence: 1-A Cool Breeze on the Underground, 2-The Trail to Buddha’s Mirror, 3-Way Down on the High Lonely, 4-A Long Walk Up the Water Slide, and 5-While Drowning in the Desert.

Plot. Neal Carey, a hardened street kid, pick-pockets a wallet from a guy who takes Neal under his wing and teaches him how to become an expert in the art. The mentor is a problem-fixer for a bank with wealthy clients, staying under the radar. Through the series, Neal retrieves the wayward, drug-addicted teenage daughter of a politician running for president, finds a missing scientist with a valuable formula, finds a missing child kidnapped in a custody battle ... more. The missions are never simple, and each story has a beginning-middle-end. No cliffhangers.

Liked. The action mixes moments of terror and hilarity that will make you worry for a successful mission as you laugh aloud. The narrator's timing and overall voicing are terrific.

Not so hot. The narration is a bit slow, so pumped the Audible app up to 1.4 - not really criticism. Not great literature, not intended to be - just good stories.

Recommend!

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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing end to a great series.

The other Neal Carey books by Winslow are very good. This one was not. The story was not up to par and really seemed to be written to get one more book out and wrap up the Neal Carey series. That said, do not let this one stop you from reading/listening to the other great Don Winslow books.
Joe Barrett gives a another great performance as the narrator.

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Clever and Funny

I laughed and finished the whole book in a day. Is this really the last Neil Carey novel? I want more!!!

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Excellent!

As usual, this author wrote a superb story !!! I loved the personal twist in it, and the dilemma the main characters facr! By the end, I was already looking for the nextooj!!! Is there a sale I can nab ????!!!!?

Linda K

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efficient and effective

I loved the short story. Nathaniel was very funny. could have been just as effective without reading the letters in great detail. I hope for the next book in the series...come on Don...

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Last of the series ?

I think this was the last of the Neal Carey series and to be honest it shows. I think Winslow was tiring and the story was filled with a lot of needless dialog. I especially found the emails tiring.

I will admit I’ll miss Neal and Joe Graham however.