Roger Johns Portrait

Roger Johns, the author of the Wallace Hartman Mysteries from St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books, visited Cavalier House Books for a book signing on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Johns’ books, “Dark River Rising” (2017) and “River of Secrets” (2018), are both set in Baton Rouge.

Roger Johns, the author of the Wallace Hartman Mysteries from St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books, discussed his new book series during an appearance at Cavalier House Books on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

During the visit, Johns signed copies of his books “Dark River Rising” (2017) and “River of Secrets” (2018), two books set in Baton Rouge. Both follow the story of Wallace Hartman, a smart and fearless female homicide detective who must navigate around the city’s rampant conspiracies and corruption.

For Johns, writing the story was a chance to reminisce on the city where he spent some of his formative years.

A native of Alexandria, Louisiana, Johns moved to Baton Rouge in 1974 to attend LSU, where he’d earn his undergraduate degree in 1978 before graduating from the university’s law school in 1983. In between, he worked at the State Capitol for the legislative council.

In 1984, Johns relocated to Lafayette to start his law career but left three years later to pursue a degree at Boston University to become a law professor. His teaching career began at Eastern New Mexico University and included several other stops before ending in retirement nine years ago from New Mexico State.

Johns said he got serious about writing after retiring, and since then, his accomplishments include being named the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year (Detective - Mystery Category), a 2018 Killer Nashville Readers’ Choice Award nominee, and a finalist for the 2018 Silver Falchion Award for best police procedural.

He belongs to the Atlanta Writers Club, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers, where he is one of The Fearless Bloggers, and a mentor in the Big Writer program.

Along with four other crime fiction writers, he also co-authors the MurderBooks blog at

Johns and his wife currently live about 25 miles outside of Atlanta.

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