The Right Wrong Thing

Officer Randy Spelling had always wanted to follow in the footsteps of her father and brothers to become a police officer. Not long after joining the force, she shoots and kills Lakeisha Gibbs, a pregnant teenager, who is armed only with a cellphone. The community is outraged; Lakeisha’s family is vocal and vicious in their attacks. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and filled with remorse, Randy is desperate to apologize to the girl’s family. Everyone, including the police chief, warns her against this, but the young police officer will not be dissuaded. Her attempt is catastrophic. Her counselor, police psychologist, Dr. Dot Myerhoff, plunges into the investigation despite orders from the police chief to back off. Dot's refusal to obey orders jeopardizes both her career and her life, as she enlists unlikely allies and unconventional undercover work to expose the tangled net of Officer Spelling’s disastrous course.

Praise for The Right Wrong Thing

Those looking for a meaningful story forged against the backdrop of a relevant social construct will enjoy going on this adventure. Artful writing ensures a smooth and well-paced reading experience. Two examples: “as the commute traffic melts into the airport traffic” and “enormous mortgages precariously balanced on the undulating waves of an uncertain economy.” Small victories have been won for women in the male-dominated world of police work, but it is still largely powered by men. The Right Wrong Thing is brilliantly written with this dynamic in mind. Those looking for a meaningful story forged against the backdrop of a relevant social construct will enjoy going on this adventure with Randy and Meyerhoff. Not only is this a compelling read, but it is profoundly realistic." ForeWord Reviews

“Kirschman understands cops inside and out and writes a sure-handed tale here. The Right Wrong Thing is gripping, honest, knowing, and so very human.”
Sgt. Adam Plantinga, author of 400 Things Cops Know; Street Smart Lessons from A Veteran Patrolman

"Ellen Kirschman knows and understands the police world and The Right Wrong Thing is an intense and very timely read. Thoroughly recommended."
Simon Wood, the Anthony Award winning author of The One That Got Away

“Key to any fictional portrayal of law enforcement is an in-depth understanding of their specific psychological challenges and the pressures under which they operate. Luckily for us, Ellen Kirschman is not only a terrific writer, but an award-winning professional police psychologist. If you're looking for a taut, suspenseful crime thriller with vivid, fully realized characters, look no further--you've found it in The Right Wrong Thing.”
―Kelli Stanley, award-winning author of City of Ghosts

“In Kirschman’s highly satisfying second novel featuring Dr. Dot Meyerhoff (after 2013’s Burying Ben), the consulting psychologist endorses young Randy Spelling’s emotional stability for service as a Kenilworth, Calif., police officer. Dot later attempts to help Randy through the guilt-ridden aftermath of a panic episode that indirectly injured Randy’s partner, who blames Randy for cowardice. Intense professional and personal problems ensue for the divorced 50ish Dot after Randy, back on duty, fatally shoots Lakeisha Gibbs, a pregnant teenager who Randy mistakenly thinks is drawing a weapon. Kirschman, herself a psychologist who has served as a police department consultant, perceptively treats complex racial, feminist, personal, and political issues while providing intimate knowledge of cops’ shop procedure. She also skewers self-serving superficial “Christian-based psychology” and neatly balances Dot’s psychological expertise with her warmhearted humanity….”
―Publishers Weekly

“When I received a book written by a psychologist, I thought it would be esoteric, dry as Death Valley. Not so. Ellen Kirschman is one to watch. She is a psychologist who served as a police consultant and provides intimate knowledge of police procedures, sort of like “Law & Order” on steroids. She is the author of award-winning nonfiction books that involve first responders. Her second novel deftly examines complex feminist, political and racial issues, though the denouement somewhat sputters.

I found enlightening―though disturbing―just how difficult is the life of a law enforcement officer, especially one forced to kill. “In this business, you don’t remember the people you’ve saved. You remember the ones you killed.”

Finalist in the Thriller/​ Adventure” category of the 2015 USA Best Book Awards

Named one of the best books of 2015 by”