DENHAM SPRINGS -- Two local authors, including one from Livingston Parish, will visit Cavalier House Books in the Antique Village for a book signing on Saturday, Aug. 3.
Tom Aswell, a Denham Springs native who most recently penned “Louisiana’s Rogue Sheriffs: A Culture of Corruption,” and Johnny Armstrong, author of “Shadowshine: An Animal Adventure,” will chat with readers and sign copies of their work from 2-4 p.m.
“Louisiana’s Rogue Sheriffs” is the third nonfiction book by Aswell, who has covered state government for nearly 40 weekly and small daily newspapers throughout Louisiana.
In his latest book — which Aswell called “by far” his “most controversial” — the author delves into one local entity he says has been consistently overlooked: America’s sheriffs, whose power can often lead to abuses that go unreported.
In “Louisiana’s Rogue Sheriffs,” Aswell attempts to “peel back the layers of corruption” to shine a light on the dark side of law enforcement. Some of the specific cases Aswell cites in his book include:
- The sheriff of a north Louisiana parish and his chief deputy who were actively involved with the Ku Klux Klan and figured in no fewer than eight civil rights murders in the 1950s.
- A south Louisiana sheriff who was indicted by a federal grand jury for physical and mental abuse of African-American prisoners in his jail, only to be acquitted, even as several of his deputies were convicted.
- A current sheriff who obtained a warrant to raid the home of an internet blogger whose only offense was posting remarks critical of the sheriff.
- A former north Louisiana sheriff who was sentenced to federal prison following his conviction of drug trafficking.
- One former sheriff who is said to have been a bag man for Mafia boss Carlos Marcello.
“There has never been anything written about the power of and abuses committed by Louisiana sheriffs in such depth and detail before now,” Aswell said on his website. “My book shines the spotlight on cases of abuse, malfeasance, theft, murder and official protection of — and in some cases, actual participation in — gambling and prostitution.”
Along with “Louisiana Rogue’s Sheriffs,” Aswell’s other writing credits include “Louisiana Rocks: The True Genesis of Rock & Roll” and “Bobby Jindal: His Destiny and Obsession.” He has also edited books for two other authors and regularly publishes a blog titled “Louisiana Voice.”
Joining Aswell at the book signing will be Armstrong, a conservationist whose animal parable “Shadowshine” follows a group of woodland creatures trying to save their home. On his website, Armstrong said the message of his debut novel is “humanity’s absence of self-identity in the face of nature.”
“This lack of self-identity allows us to become disconnected from the natural world and in doing so, we relegate nature… to something separate and at a lower level from ourselves,” Armstrong said. “This is dangerous because it turns nature into something remote and expendable and, consequently, easy to exploit and destroy.
“That is exactly what is happening today: the global destruction of ecosystems and species at an ever-increasing and alarming rate.”
Cavalier House Books is located at 100 N. Range Avenue in Denham Springs. For more information on this weekend’s book signing, visit www.cavalierhousebooks.com or the “Cavalier House Books” page on Facebook.