Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Covey Jencks ~ ~ Blog Tour & Character Interview!

Shelton L. Williams
Genre: Mystery / Social Thriller
Publisher: Southern Owl Publications, LLC
Publication Date: February 10, 2018
Number of Pages: 229 pages

Covey Jencks is a murder mystery with a social conscience. Set in West Texas with a cast of colorful and humorous characters, it follows a young lawyer from Washington, DC back to his hometown of Odessa, Texas. He wants and needs to solve a murder case from 1979 in 1993. The problem is that the Odessa Police Department has already found its man, and no one wants to re-visit the case of a black prostitute whose life was seemingly of no consequence to anyone. But Freddie Mae Johnson’s death matters to Covey and eventually he discovers an old flame, JayJay Qualls, who also knew and loved Freddie. Together they undertake an investigation that uncovers not only the truth about Freddie but also the secrets of Odessa’s south side, Mexican gangs, a Boston mobster, and the fallacy of unexamined assumptions. Finding out who killed Freddie is one thing, but preventing their own demise is quite another! 


I just love Covey Jencks and JayJay Qualls! They are a modern couple who remind me of Nick and Nora in West Texas. Characters, crimes, and social commentary leap off the page. Shelly can tell a story! --Deborah Crombie, author of the award-winning mysteries of Gemma James/Duncan Kincaid

I loved the story, the writing, and the prospects for future Covey Jencks adventures, but what I love the most, as an African- American author and documenter of human experience, is the proof that this work presents of the inextricability of Black and White lives in America. -- Sharon T. Freeman, CEO of Gems of Wisdom Consulting, author of 24 books, and global development expert

A dead body and a miscarriage of justice? What is a West Texas boy to do? Well, Covey Jencks, an Odessa native who knows some secrets, spurns his job with a Washington, DC law firm, and heads back to his hometown to solve the crime. -- Prudence Mackintosh, Contributing Editor, Texas Monthly, author of Thundering Sneakers and more

"I have unfinished business in Odessa, by God, Texas." And with that, we are off on a wild ride with Covey Jencks as he tries to find out who killed Freddie Mae Johnson, a black prostitute, when Covey was a junior in high school. If you like your detectives to be misfits who chafe at the social rules, idealists who try to find the order behind apparent chaos, attractors of a cast of characters as contradictory as the detective is, you will grab hold of Covey and hang on until the end of the ride. When you get there, you'll know for sure that you've been somewhere. -- Carol Daeley, Professor Emerita of English, Austin College.

JayJay, a character from Covey Jencks,
Interviews Author Shelton Williams

JayJay: Dr. Williams, you seem to like actors? Why?
Shelly: JayJay, I am just Shelly, please. My 17-year-old cousin, Betty Williams, was an actor and she was murdered. I started looking at folks who chose to act then. I can't say I like all of them, but I liked her, and I like you.

JayJay: OK, Shelly, how did you decide to study Odessa's south side?  
Shelly: It has always fascinated me. That's why. I did interact with the south side a lot when I lived in Odessa. The folks who worked at my dad's car wash lived there. I played and officiated sports there. I took my girlfriend on clandestine dates there. Then over the decades the black/brown composition of Odessa changed dramatically and eventually changed Odessa. Today Odessa is 52 % Hispanic, so it is Texas and America writ large.

JayJay: Ah, ha! So you are Covey since your dad owned a car wash and you did steal away to the south side restaurants? 
Shelly: Sure, there is an element of Covey in me, but my dad was neither as criminal nor as technologically savvy as Frank Jencks. Nor did I date the girl who became you. Let's just say I just admired her from afar. Almost all the characters in Covey Jencks are real people, but none of their storylines is anything but pure fiction.

JayJay: Do Covey and JayJay live happily ever after? 
Shelly: What do you think?

JayJay: I can't really see it. To err is human. One or both are gonna screw up, don't you think?
Shelly: That would not surprise me, but I just don't know. They do really care about each other. 

JayJay: I really like solving mysteries, but what are the chances we can see more of Texas in the future? I have a cousin in Dallas I really would like to visit.
Shelly: OK, pack your bags, but remember: all dusty roads lead to Odessa!

Shelton L. Williams (Shelly) is founder and president of the Osgood Center for International Studies in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and he taught for nearly 40 years at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He has served in the US Government on 4 occasions and he has written books and articles on nuclear proliferation. In 2004 he began a new career of writing books on crime and society. Those books are Washed in the Blood, Summer of 66, and now Covey Jencks. All firmly prove that he is still a Texan at heart.

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  1. Very nice interview.

    1. Thanks, Shelly! We're excited to have your book on tour!

  2. I was one of Professor Williams students (Norwich MDY, 2010). At the time I was a Detective assigned to Psycho/Sexual Serial crimes and Serial Murders. I ordered a copy to see his take on the field, If he's as thorough as in Terrorism Studies it should be fascinating. Pat Sullivan

    1. Wow! How cool! I wasn't aware he taught a Terrorism Studies class -- he's a fascinating fella. I will let him know you commented. Hope you enjoy the book!