Saturday, September 9, 2017

Roger Johns

Roger Johns is a former corporate lawyer and retired college professor with law degrees from Louisiana State University and Boston University. During his nearly two decades as a professor, he served on the editorial staffs of several academic publications and he won numerous awards and recognitions for his teaching and his scholarly writing. Johns was born and raised in Louisiana. He and his wife Julie now live in Georgia.

Dark River Rising is his first novel.

Recently I asked Johns about what he was reading. His reply:
As usual, I’ve got a few books underway at once. I’m in the middle of Mississippi Blood––the first volume of Greg Iles’s epic saga about the present-day echoes of some stunningly nasty, long-ago attempts by some truly horrible people to thwart the Civil Rights movement. For years I’ve enjoyed reading Amy Tan’s novels because she so beautifully shows how the sins of the past plague us far into the future. Greg Iles is proving to be just as skillful in that regard.

Two weeks ago, I finished The Perfect Stranger, by Megan Miranda. This is psychological suspense at its best. The casual sociopathy of her villain is very well written and the villain’s identity is so cleverly hidden until the end––a real ‘shiver me timbers’ kind of story. Several years ago, I read When She Woke, by Hillary Jordan, about a time when criminals weren’t incarcerated, they were “chromed”––their skin was turned a bright color, with a particular color assigned to specific types of crimes. The Perfect Stranger made me wish there was some similarly obvious, unmistakable way for us to identify the sociopaths among us.

A few days ago, I finished Murderabilia by Scottish crime novelist Craig Robertson––a really disturbing story that takes place against the backdrop of the bizarre hobby some people have of collecting souvenirs associated with killers and their victims. I’ll be appearing on a panel with Craig at the Bouchercon 2017 mystery writers and readers convention in October, so I wanted to be familiar with his work. It’s proving difficult to stop thinking about the book, which, to my way of thinking, means he told a powerful story.

Later today, I’ll start reading These Honored Dead, by Jonathan Putnam. This is the first in his Lincoln and Speed mystery series, in which the new attorney and pre-presidential Abraham Lincoln, and his businessman friend and landlord Joshua Speed, solve crimes and attempt to bring order and justice to a dangerous and chaotic time. I’ve been looking forward to this book topping my To-Be-Read stack for a long time.

Next week, I’ll start an advance copy of Eclipse Alley, by David Fulmer. This is the latest installment in his Valentin St. Cyr mysteries set in early twentieth century New Orleans. I loved the earlier ones. As a native of Louisiana, I know a thing or two about New Orleans, so I feel comfortable saying his books feel very authentic. Full disclosure: David is also a writing instructor and he taught me how to write novels.
Visit Roger Johns's website.

The Page 69 Test: Dark River Rising.

--Marshal Zeringue