Jeri’s first case was Kindred Crimes, which won the St. Martin’s Press-Private Eye Writers of America Contest for Best First Private Eye Novel. The book was nominated for three awards in the Best First category: the Shamus, given by the Private Eye Writers of America; the Anthony, awarded at Bouchercon, the world mystery convention, and the Macavity, given by Mystery Readers International.
In Kindred Crimes, Jeri is hired to look for a wife who has disappeared. What Jeri calls “a simple missing persons case” turns out to be complicated—and deadly. People aren’t who they seem, and the past comes back with a vengeance.
“A welcome addition to this tough genre.”
—The New York Times Book Review
The past plays a major role in Jeri’s second case, Till The Old Men Die. A Filipino-American professor at California State University in Hayward has been murdered, his body found by Jeri’s father, a colleague. Now, several months after the funeral, a mystery woman shows up, claiming to be the dead man’s widow.
“Dawson keeps suspense and interest at a high pitch.”
“Sam Raynor was the biggest slug that ever oozed across my path. Anyone who wanted to kill him would have to take a number and get in line.” In Take A Number, Sam Raynor is indeed dead, and Jeri’s client is the number one suspect in a long, long line.
“Entertaining, enlightening, and most satisfying…For readers who demand not only a fine mystery and wonderfully realized characters, but a story filled with social conscience and heart that resonates long after the final page.”
Jeri takes a much-needed vacation and goes to Monterey to visit her mother, Marie, and a host of other relatives. Some vacation. Things go downhill rapidly in Don’t Turn Your Back On The Ocean. Some sicko is mutilating pelicans, and a saboteur plays nasty tricks at Marie’s restaurant, and Jeri’s cousin Bobby is suspected of murdering his girlfriend.
“Mother/daughter feuds, family solidarity, an ecological mystery: Dawson blends these familiar ingredients with a chef’s elan.”
Read an excerpt
In Nobody’s Child, a young runaway is dead, her body dumped at a construction site. And her two-year-old daughter is missing, last seen on the mean streets of Berkeley among the homeless. It’s a cold rainy winter and time is running out for the little lost toddler. Can Jeri find the child before it’s too late?
“A rich plum pudding of a story sprinkled throughout with memorable characters.”
—The Washington Post Book World
A Credible Threat is a term from California’s anti-stalking law. And it looks like the University of California students who share a big old house in Berkeley are under siege. Vandalism, threatening phone calls, then frightening violence. Could murder be next? Or has it already happened?
“The last third of the book is a classic deduction, investigation, chase sequence. In Dawson’s capable hands, the characters are believable and the story moves forward in a lively fashion.”
—The Contra Costa (CA) Times
Darcy Stefano is seventeen, going on forty, according to her father. She swiped her mother’s credit card and went to Paris. The Stefanos have more money than sense and they pay Jeri to head for the City of Lights and retrieve their errant daughter. But Darcy and Jeri come face-to-face with long-ago evil and its modern-day counterpart in Witness To Evil.
“…a well-written, fast-paced page-turner that perhaps reveals more about our society than we care to know.”
Do you know Where The Bodies Are Buried? Jeri is about to find out. Her client was murdered before he could tell her why he needed a private investigator. Jeri thinks the answer is at the company where he worked. So she polishes up her word processing skill, borrows a suit and goes undercover as a secretary.
“Janet Dawson writes a terrific story that is riveting from the first page.”
Investigator Jeri Howard is fascinated by the beautiful horses and the zealous spectators at stylish Edgewater Downs. But behind the scenes, where the owners, trainers, jockeys, and grooms mingle, life is not so pretty…
“This little gem of a mystery centers around murder, mayhem and race-fixing at a fictional racetrack named Edgewater Downs in Northern California… Dawson confesses to being a longtime racing fan and has really done her homework well… California racing fans should enjoy the local flavor of A Killing at the Track.”
Young and pretty, Jerusha Layne (Jeri Howard’s grandmother) spent five years in Tinseltown, working as an extra and bit player in the movies, hoping for stardom. But she found love instead, marrying Ted Howard in 1942, after Pearl Harbor changed everything. But was there another reason Jerusha left town, involving an actor’s unsolved murder? And how does this decades-old crime connect with movie memorabilia and modern-day murders?
“Delightful… Jeri has to wonder if someone is willing to commit murder in the present-day over two golden era movie posters. In flashbacks, Dawson does a fine job bringing WWII-era Los Angeles to life.”
Jeri Howard’s brother, Brian, has been missing for four days before she is notified. The trail is getting colder as the anxious PI searches for Brian across Sonoma County for clues to explain why he disappeared. She’d thought Brian’s life was in great shape. But her investigation uncovers cracks in his marriage and problems with his job. To complicate matters, there’s a body on a boat along with Brian’s MedicAlert bracelet, and two police detectives who think Brian is involved in the homicide. Meanwhile, the clock keeps ticking…
“Cold Trail is one of Janet Dawson’s most compelling novels featuring private investigator Jeri Howard—a fast-paced search in which Jeri has a very personal stake. This is a real page-turner!”
—Marcia Muller, MWA Grand Master and Edgar winner
Water Signs (Jeri Howard #12)
Oakland, California, is a city shaped by water. The waterfront, home to the ship and rail yards, is also ripe for development. There’s lots of money to be made, so greed and crime inevitably follow. PI Jeri Howard looks into the murder of a former coworker who was a security guard at a construction site on the Embarcadero. It was a surprise when Cal Brady’s body washed up on the Estuary shoreline. But Jeri is certain Cal’s death was no accident, and she’s determined to find out who killed him, and why.
“Jeri Howard, PI is back and she is as savvy, smart and bulldog-determined as ever. I loved following her through the streets and waterfronts of Oakland and cheering her on as she brings to heel some very contemporary criminals. Janet Dawson knows how to keep the pages turning while snapping together all the pieces in this intricate puzzle.”
—Margaret Coel, author of Winter’s Child