1973. That's fourteen years of prison time after Delpha Wade killed a man who was raping her. She’d wanted to kill the other one too, but he got away. It's hard to find a decent job, but Delpha's persistence pays off. She lands a secretarial job with Tom Phelan, an ex-roughneck turned neophyte private eye. Delpha is smart, prison-wise, and together the two stumble into the dark corners of Beaumont, a blue-collar, Cajun-influenced town dominated by Big Oil. A mysterious client plots mayhem against a small petrochemical company — why? Searching for a teenage boy, Phelan uncovers the weird lair of a serial killer. And Delpha — on a weekend outing — looks into the eyes of her rapist, the one who got away. The novel's conclusion is classic noir, full of surprise, excitement, and karmic justice. Sandlin's elegant prose, twisting through the dark thickets of human passion, allows Delpha to open her heart again to friendship, compassion, and sexuality.
"I wrote The Do-Right because I wanted to reverse the detective story convention. To create not a grizzled P.I. but a novice taking a flyer at the job and a secretary who's lived the dark side of life. Enter Tom Phelan fed-up roughneck who just lost a finger on an oil rig, and ex-con Delpha Wade, paroled after 14 years in prison and looking for a job. Hello,Thomas Phelan, Investigations. These two are making it up as they go.” —Lisa Sandlin
“This book is flatout excellent. Peppered by some well placed funny moments yet with crimes that are nothing less than pure bad, Sandlin nails the suspense and trajectory of a good crime novel with the palpitating atmosphere of things gone very wrong in seemingly an ordinary and average town. Her characters are really terrific, particularly Delpha just released from prison and trying to begin her life anew, and her ear for snappy or dry dialogue when appropriate is so wonderful one is engaged for the first page to the last. I heartily recommend this novel. It’s a keeper!"
“Sandlin’s clipped prose style is pleasingly eccentric,
and can become downright Chandleresque.”
“Thomas Phelan and Delpha Wade are unforgettable characters as gritty as the ramshackle office they inhabit. But their grit has soul, and plenty of it.”
—Johnny Temple, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Akashic Books
LISA SANDLIN'S story, Phelan's First Case, was anthologized inLone Star Noir and was later re-anthologized in Akashic's Best of the Noir series, USA Noir. The Do-Right is her first full-length mystery.
Born in Beaumont, Texas, Lisa Sandlin grew up in oil-refinery air, sixty miles from the Gulf of Mexico. She raised a son in Santa Fe, New Mexico, then moved to Nebraska where’s she’s taught for the better part of twenty years. Her work has earned an NEA Fellowship, a Dobie Paisano Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, the Jesse Jones Award from the Texas Institute of Letters, story-of-the-year awards from Shenandoah, Southwest Review, and Crazy Horse.