Roger grew up in Harvard, Massachusetts and was inventing stories and creating comedy newspapers to entertain his family and peers as a young child. He loved collaborative table top games like "Magic: The Gathering" and "D&D" as well as problem solving games like "Odyssey of the Mind." He spent six months with his family in Italy as a teen, where his love of ancient Roman empire was ignited.
When the family moved to Philadelphia, Roger attended Westtown School and Conestoga High School, graduating from there in 2007. Roger wrote and self-published two books while in high school, inspired by the thrill of crime fiction. During the summers, Roger attended Bucks Rock Performing Arts Camp in New Milford, Connecticut, where he worked at the radio station. While in high school, Roger learned about playwriting thanks to the Philadelphia Young Playwrights. His one-act play, "(Not Another) Divine Comedy" is a darkly funny, thoughtful play which showcased Roger's talent for writing and marked merely the beginning of his budding, successful career. It was performed at Temple University and was staged in a full production at the Pittsburgh New Works Festival in 2007.
After graduating from high school, Roger enrolled in Reed College in Portland, Oregon. During his freshman year, the New York Times published his Modern Love essay entitled, "Instant Message, Instant Girlfriend.," a reflection on the challenges of love and relationships in the age of online media. In college, Roger loved his courses in the classics but decided to major in English, working under the supervision of Professor Robert Knapp to explore the construction of suspense in the crime fiction of Edgar Allan Poe. While in college, he wrote "Ghostman" and his work was spotted by Nat Sobel, a literary agent, who sold the book at the Frankfurt Book Fair in the fall of 2011, where Knopf acquired the North American rights to the book. Editor Gary Fisketjon bought the manuscript after reading just the first 50 pages of the book.
Literary fame soon followed. Roger received numerous awards in recognition of his writing including the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for Best Thriller, the Strand Critics Award for best first novel, and the Maltese Falcon Society Award for Best Hardboiled Novel. The New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani praised Roger as a gifted crime writer. Roger and his partner Lara spent their time in Portland and Seattle.
Sadly, at the age of 28, Roger Hobbs died on November 14, 2016 of a drug overdose, with his third book, City of Sirens, left unfinished. Of Roger's untimely death, Bill Scott-Kerr, his British publisher said, "The sense of potential unfulfilled and just utter waste is a desolate one - his future was so sparkling a prospect and his talent so rare, it beggars belief that he won't be here to deliver on his promise." Read the obituary from the Portland Oregonian here.
This piece from J. Kingston Pierce offers some insight on the life and career of Roger Hobbs. By all accounts, Roger Hobbs was a fascinating character, widely read, adept at analyzing difficult texts, and well-versed in Latin. To be sure, his persona was something of a self-styled creation. His former Reed College professor, Robert Knapp, noted he was never able to find out why Hobbs was so intent on creating and recreating himself. This article from Oregon Public Broadcasting includes an interview with Robert Knapp of Reed College about the experience of teaching Roger.