One of the better of the new breed of female P.I.s following the eighties boom, Berkeley's JERI HOWARD was a former paralegal who worked the Bay Area. But, somehow, many of her cases seemed to involve her family. In the first book, her ex-husband, a cop, brought her her a case. In the second, 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 starts to feel claustrophobic, almost incestuous at times.
Fortunately, as the series progressed, the client pool started to 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, Jeri's debut, Kindred Crimes (1991), won the 1989 St. Martins/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.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.