David Steinberg, Albuquerque Journal
Desert Reckoning is an evocative, richly textured narrative that places the reader squarely amid the ranchers, outlaw bikers, and dropouts who eke out an existence in the unforgiving heat and isolation of the Mojave Desert .Desert Reckoning is written in lovely lyrical prose. It renders beautifully the lives of the lost and marginalized souls who take refuge in the desert.”
Joseph Barbato, Red Weather Review
[C]ritically acclaimed writer Deanne Stillman weaves an eloquent elegy of strange and twisted characters .A talented writer of literary nonfiction, Stillman writes beautifully about the Mojave, and once again makes it a character in the story.”
Colleen O'Connor, Denver Post
This a real life desert noir written in prose as taut as Raymond Chandler .Stillman's book reads like a thriller.”
Jeffrey St. Clair, Counterpunch
Stillman has a novelist's flair for colorful explanation.”
Rob Hardy, Commercial Dispatch
A page turner.”
Kevin Roderick, LA Observed
D. J. Waldie, author of Notes from Los Angeles: Where We Are Now
Desert Reckoning is a major achievement. Fusing truth with the insight of a talented novelist's imagination, Deanne Stillman has created a masterpiece of empathy and understanding for those so often least afforded it. Nothing here is simply rendered. Stillman's vision of society's outcasts, the lost souls who take their final stand in the badlands of California's deserts, demonstrates a remarkable sense of humanity and compassion. I haven't read something this good, and so beautifully written, in a long, long time."
James Brown, author of The Los Angeles Diaries, and This River
Anneli Rufus, Stuck blog of Psychology Today
"Stillman...is the voice writing about the Mojave Desert, a place where serenity and violence wrestle for domination unto eternity."
Nancy Rommelmann, The Oregonian
With a reporter's eye for detail, a novelist's sense of pace and no fear of inserting her own voice into the action, Deanne Stillman takes us through the history of Kueck's deranged anger and the massive effort to take him down .When the smoke clears, we are left only with Stillman's vivid images of cold violence in the hot wilderness of an American desert.”
Mysterious and terrifying.”
Susan Salter Reynolds,Los Angeles Magazine
[V]ibrant .[Stillman] does an admirable job building a full portrait of this beleaguered landscape .The result is lyrical and intense .A dynamic synthesis of Western saga, true-crime thriller and California-based transformation narrative.”
Deanne Stillman's Desert Reckoning is a modern-day corrido, a protest ballad of lost lives and broken dreams set in the vast Mojave, one of California's most delicate and volatile regions, a too-often-forgotten landscape beyond the surf, the stars, and the palm trees. The rhythms, beats, and chords of Stillman's writingbrutal, haunting, and heartbreakingbear witness to the lives of lonely hermits and desperate tweakers, outlaw bikers and tenacious cops, in prose that shimmers and aches so beautifully that it splits your soul and shakes loose your skin, leaving you speechless and yearning for more and more. With this book, Deanne Stillman proves once again why she is one of the most powerful chroniclers of the modern American West.”
Alex Espinoza, author of Still Water Saints
Jon Shumaker,Tucson Weekly
Stillman is a great writer, and one of the few who fully capture the sparse culture [of] our California deserts .She has enormous sympathy for everyone involved, and yet never lapses into sentimentality or melodrama. The text rocks along like a good novel.”
Tom Lutz, LA Review of Books on KCRW
Winner of the 2013 Spur Award for Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary
Winner of the 2013 LA Press Club Award for best general nonfiction
"One of the greatest gifts of this book is how Deanne Stillman is able to open our hearts to people we might otherwise judge or dismiss...One can't help but be filled with gratitude and awe toward Deanne Stillman her clear eye, the depth of her research, her brave and compassionate imagination. She takes us on a journey as full of desolation and grandeur as the desert itself."
Gayle Brandeis, Los Angeles Review of Books
"A must-read for the summer."
Few writers capture the rhythm and brutality of the American Southwest quite like Deanne Stillman .[a] fascinating new book .Stillman writes with such clarity, insight, and exquisite detail, one feels the chap of the heat and inhospitality of the desert on each page. Simply put, this is crime reporting at its very best and by an author [who] is at the top of her game. Meticulously researched, beautifully written, Desert Reckoning is a true achievement and a modern masterpiece.”
Larry Cox, King Features Syndicate