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While Drowning in the Desert (Neal Carey #5)

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  329 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Edgar and Shamus 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's 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 ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published December 15th 1998 by St. Martin's Dead Letter (first published 1996)
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May 12, 2011 Eric_W rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor
If you enjoyed the madcap comedies of years’ past, run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore, Amazon, or Audible and get this book. It’s very funny, all the while paying admiring homage to the burlesque comedians of the thirties and forties. Remember “Who’s on first”?

Nate Silverstein, a retired vaudeville comedian, claims to have been the origin for that classic Abbott and Costello routine. (If you have never seen the piece, you must have grown up in an Eskimo igloo. Go to
Jan 01, 2016 Jonathan rated it really liked it
The fifth and final installment in the Neal Carey mystery series sees Neal sent out to Las vegas. His mission is to escort home to California one Natty Silver, an eighty-six-year-old comedian of the Golden Age of Burlesque. Natty is one of those thousand-words-a-minute kind of guys, always ready with a wooden joke or a convoluted story about the "good old days."

He quickly gets on Neal's nerves as it becomes clear that Natty won't ever shut up, and that he doesn't want to go home, thereby complic
May 28, 2015 Matt rated it liked it
This was a cutesy version of the Neal Carey series, about the simplest book I have ever read. Not bad, but really nothing at all to write home about. So I will just write here.

Neal is asked to pick up some old ex-comedian in Vegas and drive him home. The guy escapes Neal a couple times because he doesn't want to go home, but isn't trying too hard to avoid him. Eventually it turns out he is in Vegas because he witnessed an arson and his life was threatened. The bad guys catch up to him, Neal catc
Jan 31, 2016 Ed rated it really liked it
#5 in the Neal Carey series. The series finale but the first book in the series that I read after making author Winslow's acquaintance in California Fire and Life (1999). I found this short series to be delightfully quirky. Neal is employed by the mobbed-up "Friends of the Family" to perform investigative duties for them.

Neal Carey mystery - the 'Friends of the Family' want Neal to run an errand and escort old vaudevillian Natty Silver home to Palm Desert from Las Vegas. Natty, however, has witn
Oct 01, 2015 Payam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's first Winslow's novel which I've ever read and it felt like I was watching a movie. I think I'm gonna try more novels by him. I liked the style.
So funny. So compelling, and a precise plot for a well-built novel.
Sep 06, 2015 Joe rated it liked it
It hard for me to believe that the same person wrote this book as well as "The Cartel". They are very different from each other. In my mind, that is what a good author is supposed to do and so many do not. This is a funny book and worth reading. More like a Carl Hiaasen novel.
Sherry Ramsey
Sep 29, 2015 Sherry Ramsey rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2015, audiobooks
I've been on a mystery kick lately, and I've discovered some great books and authors I didn't previously know. This is another one of those, with a smart protagonist, fun and intriguing plot, and such a super supporting character I'd read it again just for him. :) Fast-paced and engaging, great writing--highly recommended!
Peter Pappas
Aug 19, 2014 Peter Pappas rated it liked it
A great read. It's one of Winslow's first. You can see hints of the greatness of his subsequent hit books.
Dec 10, 2015 Melissa rated it really liked it
Another great Neal Carey book!
Aug 20, 2012 Nancy added it
Neal Carey is hired to take 85 year old Nathan Silverstein from Las Vegas to Palm Desert. Nate is a former comedian and doesn't want to go, but doesn't tell Neal why. Natty runs away from Neal because he (Natty) witnessed arson in Palm Desert by a mobster. The mobster wants to eliminate him. Eventually the mobsters are caught and Natty is back in Palm Desert. Karen, Neal's fiancee wants to have a baby and Neal isn't sure. They take time off from each other.

E book - library
Oct 22, 2011 Ken rated it liked it

This novel has nowhere near the visceral punch of Don Winslow's, SAVAGES. Neal Carey is asked by PI pal, Joe Graham, to go to Las Vegas and bring an aging vaudevillian comedian, Natty Silver, back to his condo in Palm Springs. Turns out that the crafty old geezer has witnessed a mob arson job, and is kind of on the run. Lightweight jollification and hijinks ensue, yet not nearly as effective as any of Donald E. Westlake's Dortmunder novels.
Winslow, Don - 5th Neal Carey

An aging comic, Nathan Silverstein, saw two men commit arson in Las Vegas. Neal Carey arrives to take him home to Palm Springs but the arsonists have other ideas. Silverstein and Carey are hard-pressed not to drown in the desert as they flee.

The series gets darker with each book. So wonderfully written and well done. Love this series.
Aug 04, 2012 Steve rated it it was amazing
The most recent (but I hope not last) Neal Carey novel has Neal in Las Vegas, trying to persuade an old entertainer to return home to Palm Springs. If you are familiar with this series, you know you are in for a funny romp. If you aren't familiar with this series... what are you waiting for?
Apr 30, 2009 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This time Winslow goes for humor and keeps the story short in what is, to date, the last Neal Carey mystery. Some of the themes (insurance fraud, crooked attorneys) are developed more fully in his later serious novel "California Fire and Life."
Dimitrios Triantaphyllou
Oct 20, 2013 Dimitrios Triantaphyllou rated it really liked it
This book is too funny...once you get started, you have a difficult time parting from it....a comedy of errors on a Nevadan scale with its excesses and its cornball characters and bad jokes...
Oct 13, 2012 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-read
The audio edition was pure fun entertainment for me. Read or listen to it if you enjoy screwball comedies or light character driven mysteries.

I plan to listen to / read more from this series.
Sep 05, 2012 Hitomi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


Aug 31, 2008 Tom rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Tom by: Julia
the best of the Neal Carey series - great crosstalk and grumbles, cracking story, hilarious dialogue.
Apr 28, 2009 Al rated it it was ok
Not one of Winslow's best. It was an ok comic mystery.
Ben Hamilton
May 09, 2012 Ben Hamilton rated it liked it
Very quick book with great characters.
John Machata
Oct 20, 2013 John Machata rated it really liked it
Fun. Witty.
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Don Winslow was born in New York City but raised in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. At various times an actor, director, movie theater manager, safari guide and private investigator, Don has done many things on his way to being a novelist.

His first novel, A Cool Breeze On The Underground, was nominated for an Edgar, and a later book, California Fire and Life, received the Shamus Award. The Death An
More about Don Winslow...

Other Books in the Series

Neal Carey (5 books)
  • A Cool Breeze on the Underground (Neal Carey, #1)
  • The Trail to Buddha's Mirror (Neal Carey, #2)
  • Way Down on the High Lonely (Neal Carey, #3)
  • A Long Walk Up the Water Slide (Neal Carey #4)

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