Crime in the Woods


John P.M. Wappett

My third book, described below, will be out in early 2021.

I attended and graduated from Albany Law School after a stint in the U.S. Army.  Like my character, Peter Drake, I went into law school with no real idea what I might want to do for a living in the law.  During law school, I became an intern in the Albany County District Attorney’s Office, fell in love with the work of a prosecutor, and spent the next twenty-plus years doing what I loved, first in Albany County and then in Warren County, my home county.  Yes, I am only too aware of how lucky I am to do that.  I then spent 10 years as a Chief Public Defender, getting to see the legal world from the other courtroom table.

I am now retired (furiously, as my dad used to say).  I lived in upstate New York with my wife of more than thirty-five years (poor thing!).  We now live on the Treasure Coast of Florida, (Atlantic side)

We have raised three children, and during those years I earned two DEA Certificates of Achievement, ran a Cub Scout pack, dressed up as an Easter bunny on a hayride for kids, became a USSF soccer coach, ran a 13,000-member youth soccer league, and earned a US Soccer Federation Referee certification, which I used, even in the heat of Florida summers, until mid-2018, when it became clear that I couldn’t keep up with the players without injuring myself.  Now I just take a leisurely three-mile run each morning, thereby justifying the junk food I eat in the evening.

The kids who are now grown and on their own have each done wonderful things, including all three playing NCAA college soccer.  During their formative years, my wife and I each averaged 35,000 miles per car per year.  Gotta love it!  Now, we also have four grandchildren to play with.

The inspiration for writing my first book, “Wiseguys in the Woods”, came from a case I prosecuted in Albany in the 80’s.  The second book in the series, “Trailer in the Woods”, was suggested by a case I handled as a prosecutor in Warren County. 

I presently working on my third book, “Rage in the Woods”, also suggested by one of my cases as a prosecutor.  This one is taking longer, because I have been taking courses on fiction writing so that my books can be more entertaining and less like a journal.  Soon enough, you can judge for yourself.

The desire to write about my work came from the many enjoyable crime books that I have read, in which the main characters have some special skill, strength or talent (or outrageous luck).  I felt it would be fun to write about the people and work I love, with normal, unspectacular cops, judges and prosecutors.  That is not to suggest that I am, in any way normal, but unspectacular – certainly.

As an old friend recently put it, “Even ground pounders can do extraordinary things.”

Please feel free to visit us on Facebook (Crime in the Woods), a form of communication I hope to master, eventually.



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