Episode 111 of the GSMC Book Review Podcast has me sitting down for another author interview. This time I spoke with Roger Johns about River of Secrets, the second book in the Wallace Hartman Mysteries.
Herbert Marioneaux, a Louisiana politician infamous for changing his mind on hot-button issues, has been murdered and his body posed to send a message. Baton Rouge homicide detective Wallace Hartman has to figure out who’s sending that message. DNA points to Eddie Pitkin, a social justice activist who also happens to be the half-brother of Wallace’s childhood best friend. But even with the combative history between Pitkin and Marioneaux, murder seems out of character for Pitkin, whose usual MO is to confront the wealthy and powerful with their inconvenient past. As Wallace digs deeper, she unearths a possible alibi witness, along with evidence of a deeply troubled relationship that points the finger of suspicion at Marioneaux’s son.While Eddie’s supporters are convinced of his innocence, his enemies are equally certain of his guilt. Under pressure from all directions, Wallace pursues her investigation into the dark heart of the political establishment as Baton Rouge falls under the shadow of escalating violence. When it appears a police department insider may be sabotaging her efforts by leaking information about the case, and after menacing messages are left for her and her loved ones, Wallace is forced to untangle a trail of old and disturbing secrets unaided by those she most needs to trust. (Source)
I really enjoyed this book. It's suspenseful, with plenty of twists and turns that kept me trying to figure things out throughout the story. Wallace is a main character it is easy to root for, and I look forward to more books with her to see where her story continues to take her. The book has moments that are uncomfortable because they are so true to life with the current situation of polarity in our country. While those scenes were difficult to read at times because of the accuracy, they add a level of depth and authenticity to the story and it's location.
What I enjoyed:
- Roger describes Wallace as a woman who is on "the cusp of middle age." As a woman of similar description, I appreciate seeing a smart. likeable, very human main character of this demographic represented.
- All of the twists and turns. As the case evolves there continue to be developments that can either potentially exonerate or convict the main suspect. Things are never easy and as I said in the interview, I'm really glad I'm not an investigator who has to wade through all of that type of confusing evidence.
- Wallace's development throughout the story. She has some complicated issues in her life and her past and she is working on coming to terms with them. Even as she makes progress there are circumstances that make those issues even more complicated. I am intrigued to see where she goes throughout the series.
- "Colley Greenberg, her mentor when she became a detective, had taught her how to do this. Study everything you see. Hold the scene in your mind's eye, and then try to run the tape backward. Some of their colleagues laughed it off as voodoo lessons, but it worked. More than once, it had shown that possibilities that at first seemed attractive were, in fact, remote or impossible, or vice versa."
- "'Never as a chronic malcontent what would make them happy,' Carol told her. 'It'll always be something that can't be delivered and that will always be your fault.'"
- "'Wallace, you know the secret code of the political class in Louisiana. Don't say it if you can nod it. Don't not it if you can wink it.'"
Where you can find Roger online:
Facebook: Roger Johns
Amazon Author Page: Roger Johns
GoodReads: 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. Roger was born and raised in Louisiana. He and his wife Julie now live in Georgia. (Source)
Are you a fan of mysteries? Want to know more about Wallace Hartman? You should definitely enter our giveaway! Entering is easy: Just go to our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page and comment on Episode 111: Interview with Roger Johns. That's it! Commenting will automatically enter you to win a copy of River of Secrets. The giveaway is open until September 30, and winners will be announced on October 1. US only.
To hear the interview with Roger, please click here.