Death In The Desert (The High Desert Series Book 1)
These cases were solved 26 and 27 years after the bodies were found, respectively. But as much as art has imitated life, life has imitated art; many believe that the area's reputation as a body dumping ground has only encouraged other criminals to leave remains in this region. They do seem to get increasingly bizarre—and cinematic—with time: In , the body of Colorado man Frank Chaminade Hoebich was found 66 miles west of Las Vegas, rolled up in a carpet taped close on each end. In , a John Doe was found burning on the side of a remote road near Yermo, California.
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And in , the head of a teenage Barstow Jane Doe was found in a backpack near Barstow. Three more for what Stringfellow calls "myths of the desert. The most widely covered homicide case to come to the desert is that of the McStay family —Summer, Joseph, and their sons, three-year-old Joseph Jr. The family disappeared from their Fallbrook, California, home in , the bodies found three years later near Victorville.
Chase Merritt, Joseph's former business partner, was arrested in in connection with the murders—but a trial date has yet to be set. From there, records read like episodes of True Detective. Ryan Singleton , a year-old aspiring filmmaker visiting from Atlanta, was last seen alive at a Baker gas station in July His body was found in the desert a few months later without any organs; his family believes he was murdered. In an email to me, San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner's Office public information officer Cindy Bachman noted, "Ryan Singleton's death investigation not homicide suggests no foul play involved.
Corwin had told friends and family she was pregnant shortly before her murder, though her remains were too decomposed to confirm. In , Christopher Lee—a Marine, who claims he was Corwin's lover at the time he committed the murder—confessed to strangling Corwin and dumping her body head-first into the shaft; he was subsequently convicted and sentenced to life in prison. In , the body of year-old Lindsey Star Roman, the daughter of a legendary Las Vegas guitar maker, was found in a desert area near Needles, California.
Bachman noted this as "the most recent homicide body dump" for the San Bernardino County jurisdiction, though remains have continued to turn up. Already this year, a jawbone has been found in Apple Valley , California, which has since been identified as belonging to a man who disappeared in A human skull was also found in Barstow.
Is a self-fulfilling prophecy at work in this desert?
Holes in the Desert: A Mojave Crime Compendium | KCET
Perhaps reports of bodies abandoned and found have inspired others with misguided criminal romanticism—and as the Mojave Desert's reputation for body dumping has become increasingly solidified both amongst law enforcement and throughout media reporting, criminals may be growing more creative. But there's also inevitability inherent to this landscape that often feel like hell itself. In total, the desert covers almost 50, square miles, stretching into four states.
Rainfall averages around 5 inches per year; in summer months, temperatures rarely drop below degrees Fahrenheit. It's quiet here. The body of Beddie Walraven was in the Mojave Desert for 25 years before it was discovered. The family of Kathryn Barrett spent eight years waiting for her remains to be found. There are currently missing persons in San Bernardino County. How many of them might be waiting in the Mojave Desert?
Follow Nile Cappello on Twitter. Sign up for the best of VICE, delivered to your inbox daily. Then she introduced a whole new genre — the lesbian detective novel. She was senior editor at Naiad for 10 years, and supervising editor at Spinsters Ink during the critical blooming of lesbian fiction. For many writers and readers Forrest is not only a groundbreaking leading light who opened up lesbian literature for new authors and audiences; she is one of the cornerstones who has supported, improved and developed the whole genre. Perhaps now she has retired from her key roles her fans can look forward to a flurry of books to make up for the long silence.
I haven't read any of the other books in this series with character Kate Delafield, and this is the last one that was written. What I liked: It's written so that I didn't feel lost or that I had missed a huge chunk of Kate's history by not having read the previous books. There was just enough back story to get where Kate's been, who she is, and where she's coming from.
She's mature character. Don't know if that's the case through the series or if she ages substantially over the course of the ser I haven't read any of the other books in this series with character Kate Delafield, and this is the last one that was written. Don't know if that's the case through the series or if she ages substantially over the course of the series, but it's nice to read about mature characters once in a while. It's a good story with nice pacing.
There's probably more in this book about what's going on with Kate personally vs an actual mystery, but can't say. I thought it's a good balance of mystery and personal issues Kate is dealing with. I think the narrator was fairly good. She read it in a sort of perfunctory way, but I think that added to that feel of Kate being rather cool and damaged and having a been a cop. I can't think of anything negative to say.
View 2 comments. Jan 26, Kirsten rated it it was amazing. I am not even quite done with this book but I love it. I seriously have a crush on this fictional character. It's not very rational, but I so completely relate to her. This book is a lot about how Kate confronts her inner demons, and I am so happy that these ends are being addressed and tied up.
Don't want to write any spoilers, but I'm secretly hoping there will be yet another one because one more thing needs to be resolved to my satisfact I am not even quite done with this book but I love it. Don't want to write any spoilers, but I'm secretly hoping there will be yet another one because one more thing needs to be resolved to my satisfaction. I love this series because it illustrates so much about lesbian life and culture, and that makes it very real. The book is suspenseful, romantic and emotionally stirring.
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It made me cry and that always makes a book a good one for me. View all 3 comments. Sep 02, Jan rated it really liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really, really enjoyed this one, much more than I expected. Two reasons: I had read at least one book in the last years that was edited by KVF, and it was bad. I remember hoping her name made it in the book by mistake. The other: the underwhelming experience the last Micky Knight novel was.
I realize they're not related at all, but they are among the first two characters I came across in lesbian novels as a teen and they do occupy a special place in my heart. So you cannot imagine how happy I wa I really, really enjoyed this one, much more than I expected. So you cannot imagine how happy I was to find myself in a fast-paced, well-plotted mystery novel that also included emotional depths. I don't really remember the later Kate Delafield novels I have read them, but for some reason only the first four stuck with me , but this one does a nice job in filling some gaps, hopefully not too many for people that do remember all of them.
The best bit: The open ending. Hopeful, yes, but open nonetheless. My deepest thanks to anyone responsible for not tagging on an epilogue here. Apr 22, R. I devoured Katherine V. View 1 comment. Jan 26, Lara rated it it was amazing Shelves: general-lesbian-fic. The thing I always loved about Kate was how real she is, far from two dimensional, she has flaws, some serious such as alcoholism, but is not completely lost or beyond living her life the best way she can manage, and definitely not a saint or a martyr well not much of one, maybe more of a saviour complex going on.
It is definitely a book for fans of the series and while it could technically be read as a first time or stand alone novel, it would lose some of its visceral power for those not in the know about the back story. I cried, a lot in this one, there was a lot of saying goodbye, to old friends and the past, but leaving on an open ended hopeful note and point.
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No faffing about with making up titles or writers to fill the details out, just honest and accurate mention of real works. So cheers to Katherine and to Kate. Jan 13, Freyja Vanadis rated it really liked it.
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It feels so good to read a "new" book from Katherine Forrest, even though this was written in and takes place in However, one thing that has always bugged the hell out of me is how over the top she is when it comes to being LGBT politically correct. For instance, she's jumped on the tranny bandwagon by including a niece of Kate's who's in the process of "transitioning" to male.
Also, one of the missing characters at the very beginning of the book is a gay man, and Kate murmurs to hers It feels so good to read a "new" book from Katherine Forrest, even though this was written in and takes place in Also, one of the missing characters at the very beginning of the book is a gay man, and Kate murmurs to herself "hello, gay brother" when she sees his photograph. Oh for christ's sakes, if that isn't ridiculous. No one would ever say that, especially not a lesbian. She's not quite as generous when it comes to heterosexual men, though. Kate's ex-partner Ed Taylor, for instance.
She used to write him to be just as stereotypically loathful as a man can be. Fortunately, she doesn't do that with the men in this book, with the slight exception of Jean's boyfriend Brandon. Also, her alcoholism is pretty annoying, although I'm sure it's nowhere near as annoying on the pages of a book as it is in real life. And Kate's insistence on being the strong, silent, manly type is almost cartoonish.
Otherwise, this was a pretty decent book. Forrest is pushing 80 so I wonder if this will be the last in the Delafield series, or if she has one or two left in her. I really hate to see it end. Mar 07, Megan rated it it was amazing Shelves: lesbian-mystery. Ever wonder why I give so few 5-star ratings? It is because of books like High Desert , which raise the bar on excellence in writing.
In fact, most of the books in the Kate Delafield series are better than any lesbian mystery by any other author in any other series. Kate Delafield herself is a true literary icon, referenced in dozens of other books. And she always has an agenda that leads to a hidden literary essay on an important subject. In High Desert , she has two: friendship and caregiving. Briefly, Kate has been retired from the LAPD for several months and the separation from the job she has done for so many years is causing her drinking problems to increase.
She has no idea what she is to do with the rest of her life. Her domestic partner of many years, Aimee Grant, has left her. And to make things worse, her best friend Maggie Schaeffer, who previously owned the Nightwood Bar, is in hospice with terminal cancer. So when she learns that Joe Cameron, her ex-partner on the force and another good friend, is missing, she is determined to find him.
The reader gets the feeling that she is doing it not only to help a friend, but to save her sanity. This is not as much of a detective story as most of the other books, although Kate does use her considerable ability to find Joe at last. She walks into it fully armed, fully prepared, and fully cognizant of the danger to help a friend that badly needs it. And as I mentioned earlier, friendship is a key motif in High Desert.
It drives her relationship with Maggie and prods her to help protect Joe. But her foray into helping Joe is not a solution for her malaise; it is just a temporary reprieve. Friendship, then, if it lasts long enough, may evolve into caregiving and it is the juxtaposition of these two ideas that fuels the book. Does that mean that 3-star authors should blame Forrest for their comparatively low ratings. Not at all.
For not reading—and studying—authors like Katherine V. Note: I read what appears to be the first printing of the Spinster's Ink edition of this book. Sep 21, Barbara L. Bittersweet Katherine Forrest hits another home run. Spending time with Kate Delafield is always worthwhile and enjoyable, but in this case it was quite bittersweet. As Kate travels the road of change in her life, she plucked on my heartstrings. Frequent references to previous Delafield stories gave me a sense of comfort and familiarity and made me want to re-read them but, as the book progressed I knew it was leading to the goodbye I never wanted to face.
If you have to close a chapter in your Bittersweet Katherine Forrest hits another home run. If you have to close a chapter in your life, if you are forced to say farewell to close friends, you will find no sweeter way to do it. Dec 18, Bett rated it it was amazing.
Holes in the Desert: A Mojave Crime Compendium
We fans of Kate Delafield have waited nine long years for the next installment in Katherine V. Forrest's acclaimed detective series. It is here. High Desert finds Delafield five months into retirement, alone, and sinking fast.
High Desert High
Her life partner of two decades, Aimee, is gone. Her best friend Maggie, is fighting a losing battle against cancer, and her former commander Captain Walcott informs Kate that her former partner on the job, Joe Cameron, is missing. Captain Walcott offers Kate two things th We fans of Kate Delafield have waited nine long years for the next installment in Katherine V. Captain Walcott offers Kate two things that may right her sinking ship, a business card for a woman from Kate's past who once helped her, and could again, and a job: Find Joe Cameron before officialdom steps in.
Kate takes the job and the card, and begins a desperate race to catch the wind and fill the sails, so to speak: Kate determines to be there for Maggie, she vows to find Joe and get him out of whatever trouble he may face, she also tries again to get the help she needs for herself. As the facts start coming in about Joe, tension builds. Maggie takes a turn for the worse, and Kate wants to help her, but can't. Joe's situation begins to look like a life and death situation in the desert. Kate somehow manages, with little sleep and almost no time, to squeeze in visits with the woman who once helped her.
Of course, there is the usual Kate-too-stubborn-for-her-own-good, blind to the facts approach Kate takes to personal issues versus the all-seeing range of Kate the professional. But dealing with Joe's disappearance, is that personal, or professional? Those lines cross, and Kate begins to see, in the high desert, in the hospice home, in her visits with the woman from her past, that maybe she used one against the other, professional discretion to protect loved ones from the horrors of her job, leaving no personal outlet for herself to deal with those tragedies that homicide detectives face.
Once again, we have a Kate who is sluggish, if not deliberately resistant, to helping herself, refusing to do anything to improve her life, while putting others first. The timeline shortens, for Joe's situation, for Maggie, for Kate. The resolution leaves the reader wanting more. Another Delafield book, please.
Feb 22, Lexxi Kitty rated it really liked it Shelves: publisher-spinsters-ink , genre-mystery , genre-crime , lgbt , lesbian-fiction , ez-read-a-thon , strong-female-protagonists , setting-state-california , setting-city-los-angeles , reviewed. This is just a note, not a review: One of the things I keep coming across in the Delafield series, at least in the later books, is the idea that Kate knows that she needs to work on her relationship with Aimee, keeps hinting at this knowledge in the book and then.
If I remembered how to make spoiler tags, ah, it's in formatting tips. Note: not sure if This is just a note, not a review: One of the things I keep coming across in the Delafield series, at least in the later books, is the idea that Kate knows that she needs to work on her relationship with Aimee, keeps hinting at this knowledge in the book and then. Note: not sure if this will work. The book after this promise occurs indicates that Kate has not spoken with this therapist since her last session years ago related to the being shot incident. And her relationship with Aimee is in even worse shape.
The first book came out in And a few came out that decade, the '90s, one in the '00s, and then this one in the '10s. Some series allow their characters to age and the like. Most, though, tend to stick to a certain range. Like, if a series started with a character at a specific age, somewhere along the line, they just become "an adult" without spending too much time indicating that the character started at roughly 29, and is now Just keeping it at "youngish, middle-agish, still alive" type.
I mention all that because Kate does age. The book is filled with remembrances of her past. The various cases, various locations of her life. Buildings that meant a lot to her which are completely gone now.