Winner of the 2016 Shamus Award for Best Debut Novel from the Private Eye Writers of America.
Winner of The 2015 Hammett Prize from the International Association of Crime Writers.
“He was very dead, Mr. Phelan,” Delpha Wade explains why she did fourteen years in prison for killing one of the men who raped her. She’s explaining because she needs a job. Tom Phelan, former roughneck and novice P.I., is hiring a secretary. A frightened mother knocks on the office door — and Delpha and Tom begin their association right in the middle of the interview.It’s 1973 in Beaumont, Texas, a Gulf Coast oil town. Phelan Investigations’ first two cases — a lost boy and a straying husband — get solved. But they just won’t stay solved, and eventually they play out in explosive force. Meanwhile, Delpha — on a weekend outing — looks into the eyes of her rapist, the one who got away.
The Do-Right Resonates With Residents
Reviewed by The Beaumont Enterprise, Lisa Sandlin's gritty novel is celebrated for capturing the area’s dark beauty. “The places they go to are real.”
“Lisa Sandlin blends pathos, humor, and poetic prose in a strong debut.”
“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 TemplePublisher and Editor-in-Chief, Akashic Books
“Sandlin’s clipped prose style is pleasingly eccentric, and can become downright Chandleresque.”
"This book is flat out 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!"
—Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield’s
"Don’t take the critic’s word for it. Check out The Do-Right, and see if you don’t find yourself reading passages aloud just for the sheer pleasure of it."
—Shawn Seed, Dallas Morning News
"Seeking Justice in 1973 Texas: Publishers Weekly Talks with Lisa Sandlin"