Thursday, September 27, 2018

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.

Johns's new novel is River of Secrets.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
I had the good fortune to moderate two panels of excellent writers at two different conferences on two consecutive weekends, in September. To prepare for my duties, I read at least one novel by each of the panelists, so I’ve had an embarrassment of riches in the reading department. Here are just a few of the books I had the pleasure to read:

Sujata Massey’s latest mystery, The Widows of Malabar Hill is set in 1920’s Bombay and tells the story through the eyes of Perveen Mistry, one of the first woman lawyers in India. Sujata’s attention to detail is amazing without being the least bit obtrusive. The sense of being there was strong and consistent. Fans of immersive, atmospheric settings, in the tradition of Alan Furst, will enjoy this book. Fans of stories set against the backdrop of the complexities and chaos of societies verging on major change will love this book.

Gale Massey’s (no relation to Sujata) debut, The Girl From Blind River, takes place in contemporary up-state New York, and tells the story of a teen-aged girl living in desperate straits within a loose family structure populated by criminals and hustlers. She is also a poker-playing prodigy, and she sees her talent with the cards as her ticket out of her miserable, dangerous life. The scenes where she matches wits with older, tougher, more seasoned players are so authentic you’ll feel like you’re playing the hands yourself.

Harry Hunsicker’s The Devil’s Country is set in the faraway desolation of west Texas. Having lived in that part of the country myself, for several years, I can attest to the accuracy of his depiction of the bleak landscape and the even bleaker outlook of so many of the people who live in the hard-scrabble towns that dot the high plains. This is a classic stranger-comes-to-town tale, and the stranger happens to be an ex-Texas Ranger who can’t stop himself from righting the wrongs he comes across. With his law enforcement background and his see-problem-fix-problem attitude toward injustice, he’s a cross between Walt Longmire and Travis McGee. There’s plenty of corruption and hidden agendas, and a sense of imminent violence hangs over the book from start to finish.

Ray Dan Parker’s Fly Away is a tale of betrayal, and revenge, set in the Deep South. There’s also the theme of the hidden life, something that always fascinates me. Parker takes the reader deep into the motivations behind one woman’s decision to abandon one life for another and the lengths she will go to, to keep the charade underway. This was an interesting tale, very well-written, and carries on a fine tradition of hard stories by Southern writers.
Visit Roger Johns's website.

The Page 69 Test: Dark River Rising.

My Book, The Movie: River of Secrets.

The Page 69 Test: River of Secrets.

--Marshal Zeringue