Review of Lisa Sandlin’s Story, “Phelan’s First Case”


Author and Instructor, Lisa Sandlin

Happy Holidays from 13th Floor Magazine, and hooray to being finished with finals!  A special congratulation goes out to those who have recently graduated, two of whom being our Photographer, Chelsey Richardson (Risney), and our former Promotions Editor, Ali Hodge.  These ladies have contributed so much over the last few semesters, and we are thankful for their creative talents.

Lisa Sandlin, an instructor in the Writer’s Workshop program and sponsor of the only literary magazine at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, has a short story featured in USA Noir: Best of the Akashic Noir Series (October 2013).  Her story, “Phelan’s First Case” has received a positive review featured in The Austin Chronicle.  The article’s author, Wayne Alan Brenner, thought Lisa’s work was a must-read.  He says:

Sandlin’s tale of a young PI and his ex-con insinuation of a secretary was engaging as hell. The writing was brisk, the genre style familiar enough – not quite subversive, nowhere near trite. The plot was jake, too, but it was only a hanger for characters – the private dick Phelan and his canny amanuensis Delpha Wade – that you wanted to spend entire novels getting to know. Over too soon, the story, goddammit – as if it were too good to last. 

To read the full review of Lisa’s story, click here.  While our resident creative writing instructor and supporter of 13th Floor Magazine is featured in this collection, there are other worthwhile stories included in Akashic’s USA Noir. If you’re interested in having this book for yourself, or know of a friend who wants some quality reading material to curl up with over the holiday break, you can purchase it here.

As always, we are accepting submissions for our next issue.  If you are unfamiliar with the submission guidelines, please review below.

Submission Guidelines

  • All files should be in .doc, .docx, or .rtx formats
  • Do not put your name in the document.  Do not put your name in the filename. Please use only the title of your work in the filename.  This is very important to us as we want to maintain a fair and unbiased selection process for each of our submissions.
  • In the body of your e-mail, please include a brief biography.  You can write whatever you’d like, but feel free visit our Meet the Staff page if you need some ideas.  If your submission is chosen for publication, your biography will be included in the magazine as well.  Remember, the biography needs to be in the body of your e-mail, NOT your submitted work.
  • For visual art, sent us pictures of your artwork.  If there is any special information about the art, like the medium, influences, etc., feel free to include that as well.
  • All prose and poetry should be double spaced and in standard fonts Times New Roman or Arial.  
  • Be sure to thoroughly edit your work for spelling and grammar errors so you can represent your best work possible.  If you need editing assistance, don’t hesitate to use campus services like the Writing Center.
  • If you would like more tips on professionally formatting your document, please read Formatting 101 by Marlys Pearson.

E-mail Submission

Once you have professionally prepared your submission, e-mail it to Remember, include your biography in your e-mail!

If You Are an Educator

Please encourage your students to submit their best work. It’s a great way to get experience submitting professionally, and may result in publishing credits! Your help is crucial to making our campus magazine a success!

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