New book: The Sawtooth Slayer. An Investigative Genetic Genealogy Mystery

Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s 2022 second book in the Venator Cold Case series is a winner. A fictional novel with mystery, genealogy, and genetics. Did it hold my interest? You bet it did! The author is based in England but did an amazing job with this story based in the U.S. I was provided with a copy of the book for this review. 

It covers a series of murders that have a pattern in which the deceased women are found near churches, but the locations are where they were killed. Detectives, a forensic pathologist, and a coroner join forces to assess the situations, take DNA samples, compare the injuries on the victims, and figure out a connection to some foliage found at the latest victim’s strange placement. I could explain that better, but I won’t give away some of the details that are followed through by the experts in the case. Oh, the Pandemic that began in 2020 also played a part in what developed.

The lead detective, Maria Gonzalez, works with an investigative genetic genealogy company to sort out DNA, try to link to people who may be related to the killer, or to the killer directly. The author fleshes out personal stories on the genetic genealogists, the killer, and some others. I was glad to see how the personal stories ended up except for one area that just might be leading to another book in the series. (Fingers crossed that I am correct.) The insight into the killer’s life and mind, the genealogy and DNA leads, and all that led to the outcome were seamlessly written.

Goodwin masterfully tells the tale, covers genealogy and DNA, police work, and more. I kept trying to figure out how his mind worked so that he could keep it all flowing and present an intriguing story that kept trying to keep me from the research case work I was supposed to be doing.

You don’t have to be a genealogist or have experience in DNA testing, or DNA puzzles to enjoy the book. Share it with family and friends.  It might convince them to become more involved in your family history. I highly recommend The Sawtooth Slayer. An Investigative Genetic Genealogy Mystery. 

Check out all the books by this author: https://www.nathandylangoodwin.com/

 

© 2023, Paula Stuart-Warren. All rights reserved.

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2 comments on “New book: The Sawtooth Slayer. An Investigative Genetic Genealogy Mystery

  1. I enjoyed the first book and found it very engaging, especially reading about the methods used by the genealogists to analyze their cases, and how they used DNA evidence. The author is skilled at developing the back stories of his characters so that I became attached to each one. As genealogists, they sure had better luck than I do with finding what they were looking for! By the second book (which continued the story), I felt it was repetitive and not as exciting. I also became disconcerted over the gruesome murder details, always young women, and it disturbed me that the author makes up these horrid scenarios (rather than using horrid real situations). But the series is definitely worth investigating, pun intended!

    1. I was the opposite, I had a hard time getting into the first book because of the gruesome murders of young women, but devoured the second book. I appreciate that Nathan Dylan Goodwin explains a lot of the techniques used in identifying people through DNA analysis and how they trace the ancestors of the DNA matches. I love the Venator staff and the details of their personal lives. Thank you, Nathan, for such compelling characters in your books. His first series, the Morton Farrier books, were also great. I learned a lot about research in U.K. archives.

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