CINCO PUNTOS PRESS
 
With roots on the U.S./Mexico border, Cinco Puntos publishes great books which make a difference in the way you see the world.
CINCO PUNTOS PRESS
childrens books
young adult books
poetry books
fiction books
non-fiction books
graphic novels
first concepts
featured titles

about us
customer service

social
Teacher's Resources
View & Print our Bilingual Catalog
View & Print our YA Catalog

<< Back to The Do-Right

The Do-Right

The Dallas Morning News

When a critic praises a writer’s original voice, what does that really mean? In the case of Texas native Lisa Sandlin, it means dog-earing page after page in her novel “The Do-Right,” to reread particularly terrific passages or, even better, share them aloud.

It’s 1973, and Vietnam vet Tom Phelan, short a finger thanks to an oil-rig accident, has decided to set up shop as a private eye. An old friend turned parole officer persuades him to interview a just-released woman for a job opening.

When Phelan meets the woman, and sees her freshly minted certificate in secretarial skills from the Texas Department of Corrections, something resonates.

“Delpha Wade. His brain ratcheted a picture toward him but not far enough, like when the Payday gets hung up partway out of the vending machine.”

Phelan eventually places the name. Delpha Wade earned notoriety as a teen for managing to get the knife away from the father-son team who raped her. She earned 14 years in prison for killing the son. The father got away.

Phelan and Wade have some shortcomings in the detecting department. Phelan has persistence, charm and an uncle in the police department, but no experience. Wade has some insight into the criminal mind, thanks to 14 years in the “Do-Right,” but she’s still adjusting to life in the world. Most days, she’s simply grateful to be living in Room 221 at the New Rosemont Hotel instead of a cell.

The rookies muddle through their first few cases, involving dog poisoning and purloined prosthetic limbs, among other things. Soon they’re ensnared in a tangled web of industrial espionage and corporate skulduggery, with a side of serial killing.

Sandlin’s noir style is a perfect match for her setting: working-class Beaumont at a particularly sour point in history. Vietnam and Watergate have left folks cranky and cynical.

Noir is tricky. Not every writer can pull it off without sounding hackneyed — just as not every guy can look cool wearing a fedora.

Sandlin’s strength is that she’s not trying to show off. The book clocks in at an economical 304 pages in part because the author doesn’t waste words on stuff that doesn’t matter. Everything she writes furthers her plot or develops her characters. She’s not the type to spend a page describing Delpha’s clothing right down to the buttons, trying to wow the reader with her command of synonyms.

That’s not to say her writing doesn’t wow. It does. Take, for example, this account of Delpha’s trip to the beach:

“The land was unclutching them, falling away to a blue seam that reached left to right as far as she could turn her head and past. It wasn’t possible to fit it all into her eyes at once, to inhale deep enough. Stunned, Delpha expanded, immense, uncontainable, taking in this horizon and its wide salt breath. Not long ago, she had wanted to be Room 221 in the New Rosemont Hotel. Now she beheld the live, immeasurable ocean, heard it, smelled it, knew she would not fit in that room in the same way again.”

Sandlin lives in Nebraska now, but she was born in Beaumont, and her feel for Texas is spot-on.

As is often the case, the plot relies on a coincidence or two. But Phelan and Wade are such winning characters, readers are unlikely to hold a grudge.

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.
- Shawna Seed, October 17, 2015  Visit Website

books for kids | young adults | poetry | non-fiction | fiction | on sale | featured titles
submissions | about us | customer service | contact us | bilingual books
search | privacy statement | ©2001 - 2017 Cinco Puntos Press
Designed by
Stanton Street 

Distributed to the trade by Consortium Book Sales and Distribution.