Thursday, April 12, 2018

Excerpt: COVEY JENCKS by Shelton L. Williams

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.

By Shelton Williams

I never intended to come back to West Texas. It's hot and dusty, yes, but that's not the thing. I like hot, and dusty is usually temporary. I don't even mind the tornado warnings. Like all West Texans, I am just happy not to live where there are earthquakes or subways. Getting in my jeep and driving wherever the hell I want at whatever the hell speed I want is freedom to me. I like freedom. It's why I am not married. It's why I almost never wear a suit. It's why, despite my long-standing misgivings and intentions, I am in Odessa, Texas and not in Washington, DC. 

OK, let’s back up. Yes, I could be in D.C. In fact, I was there once, and I mean actually living there, for about nine months. I never got an apartment and I never set down roots, but I was there. I was at the law firm of Stanley and Sachs at 18th and K St., NW, as an associate almost right out of law school and I lived at the Carlyle Suites hotel just off DuPont Circle in downtown D.C. Law review, law school contacts, great interviews and a successful clerkship got me a $100,000 first-year job upon finishing third in my class at UT Law. I deferred a year to clerk on the Fifth Circuit on New Orleans and make pretty good money there, too. I could afford Washington and, because it was Stanley, I went. I could afford D.C. life, but I hated it. I thought I would “grow up” in law school, in D.C., or sometime. Hasn't happened yet. 

So, I am going to live my life and try not to impose my freedoms on any woman or kids. I will also avoid married women. No more unhappy hot women who married the wrong guy for the wrong reasons. D.C. or New York, see you down the line or never. I am back to West Texas where I can take my earnings from Stanley and an unexpected windfall from my dad, buy a small building on Lee St. in Odessa, and practice oil and gas law with folks who survived the most recent oil bust in West Texas. I will just never mention that Bill Clinton is all right with me. His politics, his appetites, and his policies are fine with me. There you have it. I am a mess. That, and I have unfinished business in Odessa, By God, Texas.


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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