Thursday, May 19, 2022

Book Blog Tour and Giveaway: Washed in the Blood by Shelton L. Williams

Welcome to my stop on the book blog tour for Washed in the Blood by Shelton L. Williams. This blog tour was organized by Lone Star Book Blog Tours. On my stop, I have some notable quotables from the book. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Washed in the Blood. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Washed in the Blood
Author: Shelton L. Williams
Publication Date: February 17th 2022
Print Length: 175 pages
Genre: True Crime Memoir
The true story behind the Kiss and Kill murder in Texas in 1961. Author Larry King says: Washed in the Blood is a page-turning read about the time--early 1960s--and place--Odessa, Texas--during its rowdy oil boom days when violence often rode the range. It is at once an examination of local mores and foibles, piety and hypocrisy and an inside-look at the famed 'Kiss and Kill' murder of a 17-year-old would-be actress, Betty Jean Williams, whose ghost is said to haunt the Odessa High School campus to this very day.

A Selection of Shelton Williams’s Favorite Lines From Washed in the Blood

From the new foreword by Stephanie Nieman Tibbets:
The article (in Texas Monthly) was disturbing, but reading the memoir was haunting. I could not imagine the pain felt by the author as he watched his cousin go from victim to villain. I could not imagine the lack of justice he must have felt.

From the "Stock Pond," Chapter 1.
The crisp air of a West Texas night in early spring is distinctive. The breeze is gentle and not yet erratic or even dangerous as it becomes later in tornado season. The stars, millions of them, seem near enough to touch. It’s the smell. No matter how beautiful it is, no matter how still the breeze, the smell of crude oil is still there. You might forget what pure air smells like, but on certain nights and at certain times, that odor will hit you and remind you that things just aren’t as pure as you think. March 21, 1961 was just such a night.

From "Be Good Kids," Chapter 5
As we grew older, our personal fortunes steadily diverged. I went to Permian, played football, made good grades, and got elected to the student council. Betty had theater and little else. She loved reading about movie stars and loved to be on the stage, where she could be anyone but herself. She seemed less sure of herself as she went into the latter part of her junior year of high school, though she managed to get Juliet in the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene. Most of the time she hated school, hated her dad, and hated Odessa, by God, Texas.

From "Boom Town," Chapter 7
The reactions of the two schools to Betty Williams’ death in March 1961 were almost immediate. Most OHS kids were shocked that a popular boy had been accused of killing a marginal, unimportant oddball like Betty. She had a reputation. She put out easily, and while some knew that Mack dated her, they also knew that he never took her out in public. She never wore his football jacket, never went to the Scott Theater with him on Saturday night, and never met his parents. In fact, they went together and broke up repeatedly. Betty would stay mostly true to Mack when they were together, but she had other friends when they broke up.

Random Items
What I didn’t know when Betty and I finished our marathon tour of the main streets of Odessa was that for all her truth-telling rhetoric, Betty was in fact the Queen of Secrets.

There was a Betty I didn’t know. I do know this. She wanted what we all want— to be totally unique while being completely accepted.

That was the way in our family. Leave the big issues unresolved. Let the dad bully and distort. Never tell the truth.

Stand up, Mack Herring!” Warren Burnett boomed. “Take the stand!” The long awaited moment had occurred. Mack Herring would testify. This would be the moment of truth, and virtually everyone in the courtroom assumed it would be Warren Burnett’s opportunity to shine as well. Warren Burnett would surely guide Herring through an emotional testimony outlining the difficult ordeal the teenager had suffered. Burnett surely would stage-manage the testimony for maximum drama and effect. Then Burnett said, “I have no questions for this witness, your Honor. I pass him over to my distinguished colleague.” To say that Sullivan was stunned understates the impact of Warren Burnett’s move. Sullivan’s face registered something between horror and acute appendicitis.

Old-timers and teenagers alike thought that both closing arguments were strong, but how the jury would rule was totally uncertain. Judge Olsen read them the charge, and it was just as Warren Burnett said it would be. The jury had to a make a single determination: “Do you find from a preponderance of the evidence that at the time of the act charged by the indictment in this case, the defendant, John Mack Herring, was insane?”
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 the three books in the Covey Jencks Mysteries series. All firmly prove that he is still a Texan at heart.

One Winner: Autographed paperback of Washed in the Blood by Shelton L. Williams
One Winner: Audiobook of Washed in the Blood by Shelton L. Williams
One Winner: eBook of Washed in the Blood by Shelton L. Williams
(US only)
(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prizes. The author, Shelton L. Williams, assumes all responsibility over this giveaway.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Blog Touring Services Provided By:


  1. I think I would have to read this book with all the lights on!

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  2. This is really a fascinating book; not quite what I thought it would be since it's so heavily memoir, but a great remembrance of the real Betty who got lost in the shuffle.