Are You Reading DNA?

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I’ve said before that if I’m not doing genealogy, then I’m reading about it or watching it on TV, and the same goes for DNA. I’m constantly looking for new books to expand my knowledge on the subject or keep me entertained.

I thought I’d share with you a few that I’ve come across recently.


One of my friends, Nathen Dlyan Goodwin, posted that if a blogger reviewed his newest book The Sawtooth Slayer which was the second in his Venator Cold Case Series, he would send them a copy. I was happy to do that.

I’ve read Nathen’s books before, but in the Forensic Genealogist Series, which follows the career and life of Forensic Genealogist Morton Farrier.

I hadn’t read the first book in this new Venator Cold Case Series about investigative genealogy, so I decided to purchase the ebook and familiarize myself with the Venator Cold Cases before I read the second book.

The first book is called The Chester Creek Murders, and I have to tell you it was so good. I read it in just a few days, and I’m not just saying that because I’m Facebook friends with Nathen.

In the first book, Detective Clayton Tyler is working on a cold case from the 1980s, and he’s taking a fresh look at this 38-year case and decides that investigative genetic genealogy might solve the case. He teams up with Madison Scott-Barnhart and her team at Venator. I liked that this book explains how the team works through the case and the process they follow. You’re also introduced to each team member and how each of them has their part to play in the case, and we learn a little about them and their lives which are interesting subplots.

Two days after I started the first book, I’d finished it and was ready for book two, The Sawtooth Slayer. Let me tell you that you don’t have to read the first to get into this book because Nathan brings you up to speed.

The story takes place in 2020 during Covid, and the Venator team members are working from home, and a new twist is that the case is not a cold case but a current one, so the clock is ticking to solve this one before the murdered stricks again.

What I especially liked about The Sawtooth Slayer and the first book, The Chester Creek Murders, is that it explains the process for solving these cases. I know because I use this same method for solving unknown parentage cases, so I know the information is accurate.

So if you haven’t guessed, I’d highly recommend this new book, The Sawtooth Slayer, but why stop there? Why not start from the beginning with The Chester Creek Murders, and you’ll be like me…. waiting for the next in the series.


I haven’t read this book, but I have pre-ordered I Know Who You Are.

On April 24, 2018, the state of California charged John James DeAngelo with 8 counts of first-degree murder, all because of the work of Barbara Rae-Venter. Just like many of you, I was fascinated with this case because it was the beginning of what is now called investigative genetic genealogy.

How this case was solved led to many changes in the DNA industry, with many twists and turns as we learned more and more about this case.

I can’t wait to read Barbara Rae-Venter’s point of view when this book comes out on February 7th.


If you can’t get enough of this, then you may also want to read Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases which is written by Paul Holes, who is a retired Cold Case Investigator and has worked on many high-profile cases.

PinterestMy Read Your Genealogy Board – You may be interested in following my Pinterest board, where I post many books about genealogy and genetic genealogy.

The post above contains affiliate links. This means I make a small percentage of the sales via these links. This does not INCREASE the price you pay as a consumer. This is a supplement to my income so I can continue to support this blog and make donations to the Alzheimer’s’ Society. Also to be noted is that I never recommend things that I haven’t tried or purchased myself.


  • Carol Kubala says:

    There are many Genealogical Mysteries but so far Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s Morton Farrier Forensic Genealogy Series and the 2 Genetic Mysteries in the Venator Cold Case series are my favorites. I’ve learned a lot from these without their coming across as a lecture. Very entertaining and the methodolgy is spot on. I’m hooked.

    Non-fiction Genealogy titles that I have enjoyed:
    Psychic Roots 1 & 11 – Henry Z Jones Jr.
    Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love – Dani Shapiro 2020
    The Lost Family: How DNA Testing Is Upending Who We Are – Libby Copeland 2021
    Stranger In My Genes: A Memoir – Bill Griffeth (2016)
    Sequel – Strangers No More: A Sequel to The Stranger in My Genes – Bill Griffeth (2022)