Carolyn Johnson was born in Louisiana and attended high school in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. She went to Western College for Women in Ohio before graduating with honors from the University of Wisconsin. It was in a philosophy seminar there that she met James "Jim" Hougan, who became a journalist and novelist. The couple married in 1966 and travelled and lived in Mexico, Morocco, Italy, Spain, Greece, and England for his work. Before becoming novelist herself, Carolyn Hougan worked as a photographer, cocktail waitress, and school bus driver. She wrote four thrillers, Shooting in the Dark (1984), The Romeo Flag (1989), Blood Relative (1992) and, as Malcolm Bell, The Last Goodbye (1999). With her husband, under the pseudonym John Case, she co-wrote a series of successful novels beginning with The Genesis Code (1997), a bestseller. Carolyn Hougan died of cancer at age 63.