Killer Nashville Book of the Day

The Do-Right by Lisa Sandlin/ Reviewed by Joseph Borden

Do-Right-HighResCover-2

Purchase The Do-Right or read other reviews through Killer Nashville’s affiliate, Amazon.com*

 

Lisa Sandlin Credit: David Baker
Lisa Sandlin
Credit: David Baker


Delpha Wade, protagonist in Lisa Sandlin’s The Do-Right, is newly-paroled and in desperate need of a job, or else she will face the possibility of returning to prison where she spent fourteen years after killing one of her rapists. Cue Tom Phelan—veteran and ex-oil-rigger turned sleuth—a friend of Delpha’s parole officer who needs a competent secretary for his burgeoning P.I. firm. At first glance, the two appear an unlikely pair, perhaps. But, throughout the course of the novel, they form a partnership that is effective, and entirely incumbent on their respective backgrounds.

The Do-Right is set against the backdrop of the Watergate scandal. In classic noir fashion, the novel is threaded throughout with testaments to dirty, rotten humanity—such as the omnipresent reminder of Nixon in the height of his dishonesty, and an entire country victim to a sense of betrayal. These reminders imbue the novel with an undertone of disillusionment while juxtaposing it against harrowing investigations of blue-collar crime in Texas by our protagonists at Phelan Investigations.

Sandlin makes fantastic use of familiar, archetypal characters—the neophyte sleuth, the woman with the troubled past, etcetera, etcetera—and brings new life into them by crafting narrative that, past the surface of an exciting detective story, seems to search for a sense of grace or forgiveness. Delpha, haunted by her years spent on the inside and the memory of her rape, longs for a fresh start. “Something different than anything I had before,” she says when asked what she’s saving up for. But when Delpha comes face-to-face with her surviving rapist on a fishing excursion, she realizes a fresh start might not be possible.

Phelan, for his part, spends much of the novel learning the ropes—often berating himself for novice mistakes. Though inexperienced, the P.I. has a knack for sniffing out clues. Most importantly, perhaps, he has a thirst for seeing an investigation all the way through, and an ability to leave no stone unturned—possibly at great cost.

This novel has it all—murder, mystery, abuse, corporate espionage. Take your pick. The prose reads like movie stills from an old detective flick. It gives snapshots of each moment spent in the grungy, infected world Sandlin has created. The language is sparse and precise; the syntax is musical. Sandlin shows a mastery for crafting dialog, as well, brilliantly utilizing the expository possibilities of genuine, human conversation.

Lisa Sandlin’s The Do-Right is something akin to a rusted nail through the foot: it’s dirty, it hurts, and it’ll have you jumping up and down—or possibly just on the floor. Delpha Wade and Tom Phelan are as lovable a duo as any in noir fiction, and they bring a dynamism to the familiar archetypes that can so easily grow stale.

Will Phelan Investigations survive? Can Delpha live in peace with her rapist still alive? These are just a few of the mysteries you’ll have to solve yourself.


Joseph Borden has a B.A. in creative writing from Tusculum College. He currently lives in Lyles, TN, where he spends most of his time reading, writing, and obsessing over his dog.


 If you have a book you would like featured, send an ARC for consideration. The Killer Nashville Book of the Day Reviews are coordinated by Clay Stafford with the assistance of Emily Eytchison and credited guest reviewers.

For more writer resources, visit us at www.KillerNashville.comwww.KillerNashvilleBookCon.com, and www.KillerNashvilleMagazine.com.

And be sure to check out our new book, Killer Nashville Noir: Cold-Bloodedan anthology of original short stories by New York Times bestselling authors and newbies alike.

“Murder, mayhem, and mystery! Every story in KILLER NASHVILLE: COLD-BLOODED is filled with suspense, sizzle and startling twists. I loved it!”

– Lisa Jackson, New York Times Bestselling Author

*Killer Nashville is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you purchase a book from the links on this page, Amazon will give Killer Nashville a small percentage of the total sale. Killer Nashville receives zero compensation (other than sometimes the book to review) from publishers who have been selected for the Book of the Day.

[hr color=”dark-gray” width=”100%” border_width=”2px” ]

Want to review books for the Killer Nashville family?

With over 24,000 visits monthly to the Killer Nashville website, over 300,000 reached through social media, and a potential outreach of over 22 million per press release, Killer Nashville provides another way for you to reach more people with your message. Send a query to books@killernashville.com or call us at 615-599-4032. We’d love to hear from you.

Past Book Reviews

[hr color=”dark-gray” width=”100%” border_width=”2px” ]