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The Bird Boys

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A Delpha Wade and
Tom Phelan Mystery
Genre: Gentle Noir / Mystery / Women Sleuths
Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
Date of Publication: August 20, 2019
Number of Pages: 306

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The Bird Boys book cover

The new novel from award-winning author Lisa Sandlin catches up with the almost-murdered secretary Delpha Wade (The Do-Right, 2015, set in 1973) as she’s released from a hospital in order to be tucked into the back seat of a police cruiser. Her boss, P. I. Tom Phelan, sets out to spring her. He needs her back in his investigation business, where he’ll soon be chasing a skulking grand larcenist and plotting how to keep a ganjapreneur out of the grabby hands of a brand new agency, the D.E.A. Delpha digs through old records and knocks on strange doors to unravel the dangerous case of two brothers with beaucoup aliases—verifying that sometimes truth is not true, but murder is always murder.

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“What makes this crime novel soar is the humanity and humility of its main characters. It is by turns exciting, tender, suspenseful, observant, and gently funny. Readers will eagerly await the next installment.”
Booklist, Starred Review
“Sandlin’s sequel soars on the wings of its spot-on evocation of a time and place and its utterly compelling central characters… A first-rate series crying for word-of-mouth support.”
Kirkus, Starred Review
“Proving that anything old can be new in the right, talented hands, Sandlin has crafted an outstanding series that readers will want to follow and savor.”
Robert Faires, Austin Chronicle
“I confess that as a Beaumonster who remembers that city in the early seventies, the book has a special appeal; Sandlin gets so many details just right. But you don’t have to have lived there to be captivated by The Bird Boys. Its characters, wit, exquisite prose, and sense of redemption are so richly crafted that they’ll stick to most anyone like, well, a shirt to your skin on an August afternoon in Beaumont.”
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Book meme: "It seems like an east case - one Bird brother looking for the long-lost other - 'til it turns out that one brother is a murderer. But which one?"
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Excerpt from Chapter Twenty-One
From The Bird Boys
By Lisa Sandlin

WHY IS IT you touch one woman she feels ordinary like a cousin or a nurse who checks your blood pressure or some lady at the bank who trips and you catch her elbow — but you touch another woman, and she’s live current? Phelan suspected the answer might have to do with him, but that avenue remained murky, and he let it stay that way.

OK, chemistry, what was that? Horniness, for sure. Partly her shape, the way the waist sets in, the lift of her breasts, if she smiles at you, how she smiles at you, what she means by it, not that you know, but sometimes you do.

The day he met Delpha, no smile until she understood she was hired.

He considered the idea intermittently while also drinking Miller High Life and watching the Braves. Game was broadcast from the climate-controlled Astrodome, subtracting fifteen degrees from this Saturday’s eighty-seven, and adding that shazam neon scoreboard Houston worshipped. Fans were warming up for rambunctious. Closeup of the bullpen and Dave Robert’s heater colliding with the mitt like a round from a bolt-action rifle.

The Braves went down 1-2-3 in the first inning. Second verse, same as the first. Astros had magnets in their gloves. Top of the third, all right!, Casanova homered, Garr singled and, little wings sewn onto his cleats, stole second. Died there. Phelan grumbled. He should be rooting for the Astros, home team ninety miles away, but they didn’t have Henry Lee Aaron.

April 1954, the year Tommy Phelan was ten, the year Joe DiMaggio married the goddess — Coach Peterson distributed uniforms after practice. Bobby Peterson got 6, which’d been Stan the Man’s number, and his twin Casey got 7, Mantle’s. Naturally. Their dad was coach. When Ron Whitaker got 3, the Babe’s number, he did about twenty somersaults across the field. Phelan, standing farthest from the coach, ended up with number 44. That was neither good nor bad — he’d seen the card of a player named Cavaretta, racked up some MVPs during the war — but Phelan was not kissing dirt over him.

There were things about Delpha that made contemplation complicated. That day when he’d touched her, a charge surged through him, belly, dick, thighs — just from the skin-to-skin. That was a complication. And the major thing was that they worked together and that was working out excellent as far as Phelan was concerned, so best there be no complications. He could make a mistake, their beneficial association could go south. This was one of the major things, anyway. That was it — his brain pinpointed the core problem — Delpha had several major things.

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Lisa Sandlin Author Photo

Lisa Sandlin is the author of The Do-Right, winner of the Shamus Award from the Private Eye Writers of America and the Hammett Prize from the International Association of Crime Writers. Her new mystery thriller The Bird Boys is set in 1973 in the same town she was born, Beaumont, Texas. Her previous books are The Famous Thing About Death and Message to the Nurse of Dreams, Cinco Puntos Press; In the River Province, SMU Press; and You Who Make the Sky Bend, Pinyon Publishing.

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THREE WINNERS: Choice of eBook or Print Copies of THE BIRD BOYS
August 20-30, 2019
(International – eBooks only)
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