Thursday, May 7, 2020

Covey and JayJay Get Educated Audio Book ~ Lone Star Book Blog Tours Audio Book Review & Giveaway!

COVEY AND JAYJAY
GET EDUCATED
Audio Book Tour
By Shelton L. Williams
Narrated by Kathy James
Covey Jencks Mysteries, Book 2
Genre: Murder Mystery / Social Thriller / Amateur Sleuth
Publisher: Audible
Length: 5 hours, 40 minutes
Publication Date: March 18, 2020

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Amateur detectives Covey Jencks and JayJay Qualls are drawn into a triple murder on the campus of Baker College in West Waverly in the Texas Hill Country. Both end up taking positions at the college: Covey as an adjunct instructor and JayJay as a visiting actor. 

Initially they believe that money is the motive for the murders, but over time they learn that the college is a cauldron of political and social intrigue. The college's new president and his beautiful wife, various staff members, a prominent trustee, and parties not associated with the college have the motives, opportunities, and wacky agendas that might implicate them in the murders. It turns out that a white nationalist group may be using a college house for its nefarious activities, but are they more talk than action? 

The West Waverly police are little to no help in the investigation, and Covey himself has to depart the college to deal with his father's death. JayJay takes over and makes a critical breakthrough. Upon Covey's return, the couple must rely on deception, a bit of luck, and martial arts skills to solve the crimes and to try to prevent a high-profile assassination.

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HALL WAYS REVIEW: Audio Book / Print Combo Review: Covey and JayJay are back to their amateur-sleuthing best in Covey and JayJay Get Educated, the second book of the Covey Jencks series. Though it’s not necessary to read book one to enjoy this book, I highly recommend it for the background and to get better acquainted with the couple and the Jencks law firm team in Odessa. Talk about a rich cast of characters!

In this installment, the story takes place away from Odessa, the home base for Covey’s law firm, and primarily in New Waverly, Texas, a fictitious college town built around a fictitious liberal arts college. But take note of that Educated part of the book’s title: there is a lot of truth and history packed inside this story.

As was the case with Covey Jencks, I read Educated with both my eyes and ears; however, I read the print version about four months ago.  A lot has changed in the real world since then with the onslaught of COVID-19, and I found that my reaction to the story was dramatically different the second time around. The multiple plot lines mostly revolve around ugly parts of humanity: white nationalism, racism, homophobia, corruption. Oh, and hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. The book is set in the 1990s, and it’s loaded with lessons in political and social history, which reminds readers that what is now always has been and will likely always be. Covey’s observations and concerns are our own (well, my own anyhow. Sadly, there’s a huge population of people who would bristle at the notion that white nationalism is a bad thing. I digress.). And there’s no doubt, ever, about what Covey is thinking; readers are in his head with him as he reflects, ruminates, and evaluates.

Happily, inside the head of Covey Jencks is a great place to be and BONUS! In this book, readers spend a lot of time inside JayJay’s head, too. These two are what keep the heaviness at bay with their cleverness, humor, and observations of people and situations. Add to the mix their relationship, which is filled with love, respect, and admiration, and author Shelton Williams gives readers a winning combination and a much-needed balance to those aforementioned uglies.

“He collected hatreds the way teenagers harbor Star Wars cards: acquire the latest ones, keep them in mint condition, and never forget their origin story.”

One of the vehicles Williams uses to acquaint readers with characters is to give full profiles of each as they become central to the story. We get the roots and depths of the evil; we get the impact of their disappointments; and most importantly, we get the effects of negative influences and unreasonable expectations. These detailed backgrounds and stories flesh-out the players in an efficient way so that readers can see what factors may have played a role in building these personalities.  Instead of feeling like an info dump, this tool works because it fits with Covey’s thinking style and seems a natural way he’d share information. The result is readers get a bunch of fascinating, entertaining, and revelatory side-stories in compact little bundles.

In Covey and JayJay Get Educated, the pages fly by as the action unfolds. It’s a fast read at around 200 pages (with lots of white space), and the audio comes in at just over 5 ½ hours -- about half the run-time of many novels. I said it with book one, and I’ll say it again with book two: don’t be fooled by the white space or brevity. Yes, they allow for a quick and satisfying hit of mystery and humor, but jammed in those pages is also cerebral and thought-provoking content.

Amazingly and masterfully, author Shelton Williams detangles the plethora of plot threads and ties up the loose ends, leaving readers satisfied – but with our interest piqued by the hint of another adventure in store for Covey and JayJay. I’ll be there for it! This duo just keeps getting better.

ABOUT THE NARRATION: Kathy James is back as narrator, and she gives an even delivery and speaks clearly with warmth and just a slight hint of sarcasm in her tone – perfect for both Covey’s and JayJay’s personalities. There are no technical issues with this high-quality recording. It’s been a while since I listened to her narrate the first book, but for this book, it’s more like a book being read aloud than a performance. There is some expression in James’s voicing of JayJay, and her best character was Annette, who sounds like the Texan she is! (More, please!) I did have some difficulty distinguishing between characters during scenes with dialogue, and there were several mispronounced words that caught my ear. While I enjoy the freedom afforded by reading with my ears, I am glad I had read this book in print first, and I would recommend that or a reading/listening combination to best enjoy the nuances of the intricate plots.

Thank you to the author and Lone Star Book Blog Tours for providing me an Audible download in exchange for my honest opinion. 



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 forty years at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He has served in the US Government on four 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 the Covey Jencks series. All firmly prove that he is still a Texan at heart.

 Amazon Author Page  




Kathy James. My first part time job while I was in high school was announcing at the local radio station, and I had fun being "on the air” and using my sarcastic sense of humor.  I worked in the radio business for more than twenty years. My favorite pastimes are teaching figure skating, getting lost in a great book, and watching movies.  I narrate and produce audio books in my home studio, and I truly enjoy bringing an author’s characters to life with an audio book. I currently reside in Minnesota with my slightly overweight cat and two childlike golden retrievers.  




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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
THREE WINNERS! 
FIRST PRIZE: Audio books of Covey Jencks, Covey and JayJay Get Educated, and Washed In the Blood
SECOND PRIZE: Both Covey Jencks books in Kindle editions
THIRD PRIZE: Covey and JayJay Get Educated in Kindle edition
MAY 7-16, 2020

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