Water Signs (Jeri Howard)
by Janet Dawson
Cover Artist: William Fawcett / foto Voyager / iStockphoto
Review by Mel Jacob
Perseverance Press Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781564745866
Date: 07 April 2017 List Price $15.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
When a former colleague of Jeri Howard, a private investigator, turns up dead near the bayside construction site where he worked, his daughter asks Jeri to investigate. Initially, the death is regarded as an accident, but as Jeri delves into his background and the owners of the construction site, she believes he was murdered. Little does she expect she too might become a victim.
Cal Brady had worked at the same firm as Jeri when younger. He had been let go for drinking. However, when Jeri meets him at a memorial service for their former boss, he tells her he's a member of AA and no longer drinks. He's now working as a security guard at a Construction site along the estuary. They agree to get together later.
Jeri is shocked when Cal's daughter Madison contacts her with the news he is dead. Madison does not believe his death was an accident and hires Jeri to investigate. The investigation proceeds slowly as Jeri reconstructs Cal's life and the events surrounding his death.
An attempt is made to rob Brady's apartment, but it is foiled by his neighbor so Madison and Jeri move his files and books to her office. She finds nothing in his files and then sifts through his books. There she finds notes that lead elsewhere. At first it appears he was investigating an accident that injured an immigrant worker who was then fired.
The construction site boss accused Brady of drinking on the job, but that doesn't fit with what Jeri knew. One last note Jeri finds leads her to believe there was something not right about the new planned development for the site. The question remains who killed Brady and why?
There are eleven other mysteries in the Jeri Howard series. However, this twelfth one gets bogged down with an overabundance of the history and physical descriptions of the Oakland, California, setting. The laconic prose reads like Sergeant Friday sounded and does little to hold the reader's interest. The solution to the murder is not surprising.