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The Covey Jencks Mysteries: Love and Murder Deep in the Heart of Texas by Shelton L. Williams, narrated by Stephen E. Lookadoo Jr. 

The newly updated Covey Jencks collection is delightfully exciting, and narrator, Stephen E. Lookadoo, Jr., brings Covey and JayJay to life. 

Author Shelton L. Williams gives us three great mysteries to enjoy in this new Covey Jencks audiobook omnibus collection featuring long-held secrets, murder, mayhem, prejudice, human trafficking, drug abuse, love, and loyalty with settings in the state of Texas. Covey is a native son of the West Texas oil town of Odessa, returned home after a law career in DC, and ready to hang out his shingle in his hometown. The bread and butter of the new firm is helping clients with their business dealings after the creation of NAFTA (remember that), but, thankfully, the cases Covey and JayJay tackle focus on murder. 

In Book One, Covey Jencks, Covey has returned home to Odessa to practice law after several years handling cases in Washington, DC. Reuniting with JayJay, the girl he left behind, the two decide to look into the murder of a mutual friend that happened years earlier. Her husband had been convicted of Freddie Mae’s murder, but no one on the southside, including JayJay, believed the man had killed her.

In Covey and JayJay Get Educated, Covey and JayJay leave Odessa to go to Baker College in West Waverly, Texas, to investigate three homicides. A college pal of Covey’s had contacted him about two of the deaths, poisonings of college donors at a reception he’d hosted, and was now being scrutinized as the cause. But before Covey can help his friend out, he, too, ends up dead. Covey and JayJay go undercover at the college to find out who the murderer or murderers are. In the third book, The Chinese Murder of Edward Watts, the pair go even further afield and find themselves solving multiple murders. 

I enjoyed the description of Covey’s process of forming his new practice. He brings on board an interesting array of talented and, sometimes, quirky personalities who maintain the law practice while he and JayJay travel around the state (and the world) hunting down witnesses and solving crimes. As a Texan, it was great seeing familiar place names mentioned in the books. As a Texas high school football fan, I want to note that one of my favorite moments is when the now-older Covey perfectly executes a “decleater” on the bad guy in one of the books. Besides the mysteries, I really was invested in the rekindling love story between Covey and JayJay. The time period of the story is the mid-1990s, and a mixed-race couple was something that would raise eyebrows, so there is an encroaching fog of racism present as the two reunite and team up to investigate the murders in each book. Their love and support of each other get them through this in an admirable and inspiring fashion. 

For his part, narrator Stephen E. Lookadoo, Jr. literally breathes life into our hero and heroine, main characters Covey Jencks and JayJay Qualls. I’m usually pretty skeptical that I’ll fall into a female character who a male narrator voices, but I honestly bought into Lookadoo’s portrayal of JayJay. He’s excellent as Covey, but I connected to his JayJay. This made for a story that was all the more immersive and entertaining. 

With its great characters and characterizations, solid mystery storylines, and well-done you-are-there settings, I recommend the COVEY JENCKS MYSTERIES: LOVE AND MURDER DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS to mystery readers who enjoy listening to their favorite genre and like stories that tackle real issues or those set in Texas.

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