Jeri Howard

Created by Janet Dawson

One of the better (and one of my favourite) of the new breed of female P.I.s following the eighties boom, was Berkeley’s (later, Oakland’s) JERI HOWARD, a former paralegal who worked the Bay Area.

Initially I was a little dubious. Was this going to be an amateur sleuth soap opera, dressed up in private eye drag? An awful lot of her cases seemed to involve her family.

In her memorable debut, Kindred Crimes (1991), her ex-husband, a cop (of course) brought her a case. In the second, Till the Old Men Die (1993), her client was her father. That’s fine — private eyes don’t have to be total loners; they can have families. But stuff like this started to feel claustrophobic, almost incestuous at times.

Fortunately, as the series progressed, the client pool spread, and Jeri proved to be quite a determined and shrewd sleuth. Plus, Dawson gets plenty of props for tackling tough issues in her books.

No wonder the series proved to be one of the most reliable and popular throughout the nineties. In fact, Kindred Crimes won the 1989 St. Martins Press/PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Contest, and was subsequently nominated for the Best First Private Eye Novel in 1991 (but lost to Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress).

Author Dawson is a former naval officer, drama major, amateur actress and journalist.




  • Scam And Eggs (2002) Buy this book Kindle it!
    Contains three Howard stories.
  • The Jeri Howard Casebook (2012) Kindle it!
    Contains four Howard stories.
  • Jeri Howard Books 1-9 (2018) Kindle it!
    Budget-priced ebook set, collects the nine novels


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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