Category Archives: Books

Nathan Dylan Goodwin reviews Barbara Rae-Venter’s New Book

“I have just finished reading an advance copy of Barbara Rae-Venter’s book, I Know Who You Are. As many of you know, she was leading the investigative genetic genealogy aspects of the small team who identified the Golden State Killer. Barbara has been a great help to me with the writing of The Chester Creek Murders and The Sawtooth Slayer, so I was delighted to receive a preview copy of her book. The full review is available on Goodreads by clicking here. I can thoroughly recommend it for anyone interested in the field of investigative genetic genealogy. The book will be released 7th February 2023 and can be pre-ordered here.” (at

The above review came from Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s latest newsletter.

BTW, the company Firebird Forensics Group is owned by genealogist Dr. Barbara Rae-Venter.

The Book – A Sawtooth Slayer

Well, the rains came right on time, giving me an excuse to keep reading this newest book by Nathan Dylan Goodwin, The Sawtooth Slayer.  I couldn’t stop until I had read it all. 

The book lays out how modern DNA analysis and genealogy can work together to solve not only cold cases, but current ones as well.  This is the first mystery book that I’ve actually marked up with stickers to help me keep track of the many research sites used during the story.

Nathan is actually a historical, genealogical mystery crime writer, but in this series of books, genetics has been introduced to help solve living crimes.  If you like mysteries, or genealogy you should enjoy this read.

We should get together and trace the clustering methods used and then map out the family trees developed in the story, both forward and “reverse” so we could learn how the conclusions were reached.  And someone should make and share a list of all the research sites mentioned.

A Book – The Sawtooth Slayer

Nathan Dylan Goodwin writes mysteries where investigative genetic genealogy is used to help solve the cases. The books of his that I have previously read have been excellent. This book looks to be the same. I have just started it, but am already finding it hard to put down.

This is a quote from someone who has already read it through.

“I just finished the recent Venator Cold Case book by Nathan Dylan Goodwin….. called The Sawtooth Slayer. I couldn’t put it down. I appreciated the forensic process…. laid out so well by Goodwin… clusters, genetic communities, reverse genealogy. It is all there.”

(The little guy peaking over the top is from my bookmark.)

Book: Research Like a Pro with DNA

The other day, Jonny Pearl of the DNA Painter web site distributed his monthly newsletter.  There was a link to a blurb about this book.  I was in a susceptible mood, and I have a great deal of respect for the DNA Painter web site, so I bought the book! I am NOT unhappy about it. 

The team at Family Locket Genealogists (  Diana Elder, AG, Nicole Dyer, and Robin Wirthlin share the method they use in their professional research to incorporate DNA with documentary evidence. 

This book is easy to understand, detailed and comprehensive.  This will help if you just can’t seem to ‘get’ what to do with your DNA results! It is great for those who want to understand before they test too!

They have lots of “how to” stuff relating to the various web sites.  I have been building up a list of things from this book that I need to try at Ancestry, FTDNA and My Heritage and I thought I knew it all! 

This book is like having a college level course in genetic genealogy.  I wish we had a classroom environment with lectures and lab work where we could use our own DNA and family tree as the creatures we are to dissect!   

There is both a Kindle version (9.99) and a paperback version (27.87) available in Amazon. 

We don’t normally post advertisements for books here, but I promised the DNA Discussions group that I would review it for them.

Jim Robeson

Here is a great genealogist mystery book to read!

The Chester Creek Murders

This is a great mystery for reading during these long cold nights. The crime solvers are genealogists like us. When the book was first recommended to me, by our own Katherine Neilsen, I couldn’t image an “investigative genetic genealogy mystery”. But sure enough, once I started it I was unable to put it down. I completed it in 2 days!

The author is Nathan Dylan Goodwin who has written other genealogy mysteries. This is the first in a new series of genetic genealogy stories.

The book is full of juicy details for family historians and will appeal to fans of crime fiction. It’s a great read for those who want to understand the mechanics of how forensic genetic genealogy is used to solve cold cases. The characters all feel like people we know!

I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.