Wednesday, August 24, 2022

#GIVEAWAY-Showcase- Excerpt: Big Swamp by Kelly Dean Jolley Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the Big Swamp by Kelly Dean Jolley blog tour. Don't forget to stop by all the other blogs on the tour and there's a fab #Giveaway at the end.

ISBN-13: 978-1681310688


Publisher: Meryton Press

Release Date: 8-11-2022 Preorder and Paperback: 8-2-2022

Buy: Amazon (Universal Link)

ADD TO: Goodreads


A Private Eye in a One-Eyed Place?

Ford Merrick is a softhearted detective in a sleepy southern town, Opelika, Alabama—a “one-eyed, blinking sort of place.” A provoking visit from beautiful Rachel Gunner complicates his work and his life. This stunning woman asks Ford to tail her uncle and discover what he is up to. Taking the case, Ford quickly finds himself swamped in mysteries: Who is Rachel's uncle, and what is his secret business? Then there’s the mystery of an earlier death at Noble Hall where Rachel and her uncle now live. But the greatest mystery may be Rachel Gunner herself. Mired, Ford struggles to find his way, unearths tragedies old and new, and exposes his heart to a hard test.

Thanks for having me! 

Big Swamp mixes noir and comedy.  It’s about the two  central characters, Ford Merrick, the detective, and Rachel Gunner, his client.  But it’s also about detective books and about the American South, its many subtropical eccentricities.

In this excerpt, Ford Merrick, the detective, and Rachel Gunner, his client (?), go for a swim in the pond behind Noble Hall.  The late evening’s bedazzled by a sinking sun and just-arriving fireflies.

   The pond is larger than I expected. It’s encircled by woods; the green trees and blue sky reflect on the silvery, glassy surface. A graying wooden pier extends out into the water. A makeshift, flat raft is tied to the end.

   The breeze had stopped as we walked, and now it returns, disturbing the glassy surface of the water, rippling the trees and sky, nudging the raft.

   Rachel walks to the pier and stops, gazing at the water. She sets the cooler down, takes one of her towels, the largest one, and spreads it on the grass just in front of the edge of the pier. I place the speaker on the towel, and she moves the cooler beside it.

   She looks at me, her eyes as warm and accessible as during our dance at the party. She kicks off her sandals and shrugs off the wrap. Red bikini. I work not to stare. It helps that I blind myself for a moment by taking off my T-shirt, and then I become self-conscious—too self-conscious to look at Rachel for fear I’ll see her looking at me. I have no abs like Lake to offer. I’m not out of shape, far from it, but I’ve never made any effort to sculpt myself. Narcissus and I have never been that close. But maybe he and I shouldn’t have been so distant.

   I finally look at Rachel, and she is looking at me, smiling. “Ford, if you have your phone, why don’t you turn on some music? I’m never good at choosing.”

   Turning on the speaker, I pull my phone from the pocket of my trunks and pair them. I flip through my music; I have a lot, and I want something that fits the scene. I choose Matt Pond PA’s album, Still Summer. The first song, “A Spark,” comes on, and Rachel tilts her head listening.

   “I like that,” she says, closing her eyes and swaying to the song. I watch her for a moment, understanding suddenly just how serious my condition has become—like life-threatening, cardiac. She opens her eyes and laughs. “C’mon!”

    She runs effortlessly to the end of the pier and dives into the pond, knifing perfectly into the air and cleaving the water with no splash. I plunge in behind her, with less grace and more splash.

    The water’s cold, colder than I expected, and it shocks me for a second. I sink; the water’s deeper than I expected too. Dark.

   And then I feel Rachel around me, warm and strong. We break the surface together, gasping and then laughing together.

   No matter what happens, I will always have this moment: the sinking golden sun, the soft breeze, the cold water, her warm skin. I turn to her; she blinks water from her eyes then kisses me and swims away. I swim after her. She lets me catch her, and we kiss again. She swims to the pier, climbs out of the water, and sits down. I climb up after her.


Kelly Dean Jolley Author bio 

Kelly Dean Jolley is the Goodwin Philpott Endowed Chair of Religion and Professor of Philosophy at Auburn University.  He lives in Auburn with his wife, Shanna, two dogs, two cats, too many books, and a collection of manual typewriters.  Beyond his academic publications, he has also published a book of poetry, Stony LonesomeFacebook Author Page


Meryton Press is giving away six eBook copies of Big Swamp by Kelly Dean Jolley. The giveaway is international. The giveaway ends August 29th at 12:00 AM Central Time.

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  1. This one is going to be a fun one. I've got it to read soon.

  2. That sounds like it would be a good read.

  3. I appreciate your self-deprecating protagonist. Wishing he had been closer to Narcissus after shedding his shirt in front of the girl in a bikini makes him so human and relatable. Lovely excerpt. Makes me want to know what happens next.

  4. I enjoyed this excerpt! Thank you for hosting Kelly and his book, Big Swamp. It was great visiting your blog!