Cold Trail: A Jeri Howard Mystery By Janet Dawson

May 2, 2015 | 2015 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of this book, along with a link to purchase it where a portion goes to help support KRL and indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy.

A sister should never have to identify her brother’s body. Fortunately for private detective Jeri Howard, she doesn’t have to: the partially burned body discovered at the scene of a boat fire is not her brother Brian’s, despite the presence of his medic-alert bracelet in the dead man’s pocket. But why hasn’t anyone heard from Brian for a week?

Jeri is forced to investigate Brian’s life so that she can find him. That’s another thing that no sister should do, as it means delving into his troubled marriage, his problems at work, and the woman who may have tempted him to break his vows. Brian’s wife Sheila claims to have last spoken with him by phone over a week ago from her parents’ home, where she’d taken their two children for a visit after an argument. Brian told her then that he needed to get away for a while. book

Jeri’s profession makes her all too aware that the longer someone is missing, the more dire the consequences. While the Petaluma police believe that Brian may have left on his own, Sonoma law-enforcement officers see Brian as a person of interest in their homicide investigation. Fortunately, Jeri and her family have a long history in California: her Oakland Homicide detective ex-husband, his former partner, and even Jeri’s cousin with the Fish and Wildlife Department are all able to provide information on issues that may have led to Brian’s disappearance.

I’ve been a huge fan of Janet Dawson ever since the first in her Jeri Howard series, Kindred Crimes. Now the eleventh of the series continues to thrill by helping set the standard for female private investigators. Jeri always balances her family life with her very competent professional life, and in this story she gets more emotionally involved than in previous books.

The California setting comes alive as well: Dawson has perfected the private detective procedural mystery, and watching Jeri methodically track down her brother using her intelligence and information she receives is a true delight. Chapters from the viewpoint of a victim only increase the reader’s sense of danger, and the conclusion ties the narratives together ingeniously. This is a strongly plotted mystery and is sure to satisfy longtime fans of both Jeri Howard and her always-dependable author, Janet Dawson.

To enter to win a copy of Cold Trail, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Trail,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 9, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

Click on this link to purchase this book and a portion goes to help support KRL and Mysterious Galaxy:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).


  1. Love, Love, Love Janet Dawson’s books!!!!

  2. sounds really interesting!

  3. We have a winner
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher


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