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Lisa Sandlin

  • Original Title: THE DO-RIGHT
  • Publication date: October 2015
  • Country: US
  • 306 print pages
  • Crime fiction/Detective novel


  • Epoch: Historical
  • Time Period: 20th century
  • Location setting: United States
  • Themes: PEOPLE facing life, Reinventing oneself, PEOPLE facing the extraordinary, Revenge, Search for the truth, Death, SOCIETY DYSFUNCTIONS, Violence, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Friendship, LOVE / HATE, Perversion, Sex, CHARACTERS, Strong Female Character


Delpha Wade spent 14 years in prison for killing one of the two men who raped her. Now a secretary for a neophyte PI, Delpha gets involved in a serial killer case that brings her face to face with the second rapist, the one who got away.


Translation rights sold: Germany, France

Trilogy. Book 2, THE BIRD BOYS, to be published in April 2019

The agent has some film interest already in these.

THE DO-RIGHT has sold over 10,000 in all formats in the US, and over 7,000 copies in Germany.

THE DO-RIGHT won the The Shamus Best First Private Eye Novel Award and the Hammett Prize for Literary Excellence in Crime Fiction. It received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Kirkus and landed on several Best of the Year Lists German Silver Medal, CrimeMag Top Ten 2017.

"Delpha Wade is conscientiously following her parole officer’s rules for finding a place to live and a job: act as polite as possible and ask for what she needs. ...Sandlin blends pathos, humor, and poetic prose in a strong debut." - Kirkus

Lisa Sandlin is the author of five collections of short fiction. Her work has appeared in Shenandoah, The New York Times, Southwest Review, Crazy Horse, Story Quarterly, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the NEA Fellowship, a Dobie Paisano Fellowship and a Pushcart Prize. THE DO-RIGHT is her first mystery.



THE DO-RIGHT follows the story of Delpha Wade, who in 1959 killed a man who was raping her. She wanted to kill the other one too, but he got away. Now, after fourteen years in prison, she’s out. It’s 1973, and nobody’s rushing to hire a parolee. Persistence and smarts land her a secretarial job with Tom Phelan, an ex-roughneck turned neophyte private eye. Together these two pry 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.

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  • Author’s biography

    Lisa Sandlin (born in 1951) is an American writer. She received her bachelor of arts from Rice University and her master of fine arts from Vermont College. She teaches Fiction Writing at Wayne State in Nebraska. Her first collection of short fiction, THE FAMOUS THING ABOUT DEATH, was published in 1991. Sandlin, a 1995 Dobie-Paisano fellow, has also received an NEA fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, a Crazyhorse Award, and the McGinniss Award. Her second collection of short fiction, MESSAGE TO THE NURSE OF DREAMS, received the award for the Best Work of Fiction in 1997 from the Texas Institute of Letters and the Violet Crown Award from the Austin Writers’ League. THE DO-RIGHT was her first full-length mystery.