By Shelton L. Williams
Dr. Shelly, as he is known to his current and former students, grew up in Texas. He went to the school and played on the football team that eventually made the phrase Friday Night Lights famous.
What a great read! I have been a fan of Shelton Williams earlier, non-fiction books and have recommended them to others. He can also write wonderful fiction. This is a captivating story, written from the perspective of an introspective, true son of Texas, with all the warts and bravado of many lads that grew up in the Lone Star State. The story is well paced, funny and painfully real. It tells an all too true story of racism, insecurity and our life-long struggles of dealing with our fellow human. As with all of the Williams ‘books, I felt a kinship with the characters and was disappointed when the story ended. You feel these are friends...I wept over his book, Washed in the Blood and wanted to meet and talk with his bride, after learning all about her in The Summer of '66. One grows to love Shelton's characters (real or fiction) and I am looking forward to his next books...regardless of the subject. Good stuff from a master storyteller! Thanks so much!
Author Williams is deft with language, and even better with using his characters to comment on culture and regional idiosyncrasies. Examples include a remark about JayJay being black, and whether that’s an issue for Covey…Along with his skill at writing dialogue, Williams is adept at pacing, as well. As much as I enjoyed the banter between Covey and JayJay, it was the mystery they had to solve that kept me reading. Each twist and turn was well plotted, and when the ending came, as much as I was satisfied with a well-told story, I also wanted more time with these characters. (I know, I know, I can go back and read book one.)
If you love a mystery, and also love banter worthy of a classic Hepburn and Tracy film, Covey and JayJay Get Educated should be your first choice. Unless you haven’t read book one. Then buy both.
Covey Jencks is one of the most entertaining characters I’ve come across in my reading adventures. The Chinese Murder of Edward Watts only adds to that legacy. Actually, I believe it’s his best adventure yet!
Covey and JayJay — his girlfriend — get caught up with a group of Chinese men, and one woman, who seemingly need some information about the oil business. Covey’s legal client, Edward Watts, invites the Chinese group to Odessa, Texas, for some first-hand knowledge of oil field equipment and technology. However, when Edward Watts turns up dead, and the Chinese group flees Odessa in the middle of the night, Covey finds himself on the suspect list, as well as in the middle of some nefarious shenanigans. ..
The main reason I enjoy Covey Jencks so much is that when he tells the story, I really feel like I’m just sitting in a bar or coffee shop with him, and he’s just going on about his latest exploits. He’s very homegrown, loves West Texas, and is very protective over his friends and family.
JayJay, on the other hand — and yes, she deserves her own paragraph — is less-trusting, more worldly, and can kill someone with her bare hands. Together, Covey and JayJay are like two puzzle pieces that fit perfectly beside the other. During Covey’s adventure with the Chinese, JayJay busies herself investigating the notorious Kiss and Kill Murder, a local high school legend.
The pacing in this story is truly wonderful. At no time did I consider it lagging or rushing. The pace was just as it needed to be to get the reader through to the end, where all the pieces come together.
This story seems to include everything that is important to the population of West Texas: high school football, the oil business, and the ongoing feud between Midland and Odessa. ("Odessa and Midland are the Hatfields and the McCoys of West Texas towns.") When you add in the group of Chinese, you would think there would be a culture clash. (And you would be right.)
One of the things I really like about author Shelton L. Williams is how he throws in some factual trivia to Covey’s adventures. In this story, that trivia includes the role certain groups played in the Chinese revolution from dynastic rule to modern China. I found it very interesting.
After the conclusion of the story, the author includes an Afterword that explains what’s real and what’s not. It also mentions how the story came about. I won’t tell you what it was, but I will say that I never really thought about it as I was reading the story, but now it makes perfect sense.
If I’ve managed to make you curious, I highly recommend you give this story a go. I have no doubt that you will find it as entertaining as I did.