Oct 5, 2021

Book Review: The Chester Creek Murders

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

The Chester Creek Murders

By Nathan Dylan Goodwin. 2021. 267 pages.

Our favorite genealogical crime-thriller author is writing a new series of books that he calls the Venator Cold Cases. The Chester Creek Murders is Venator Cold Case #1.

This latest story introduces Madison Scott-Barnhart, founder and proprietor of Venator, a DNA genetic genealogy investigative company. Her offices are in Salt Lake City, where her associates have already solved several difficult cold cases and achieved a measure of national acclaim. But there’s an undercurrent of personal pain and brooding when Madison remembers Michael, her absent husband, whose disappearance remains a sad thread in her and her daughters’ lives.

Detective Clayton Tyler is searching for answers for three Chester Creek murders, cruel crimes against three young women whose bodies were found at Chester Creek in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Their perpetrators remain at large some thirty years later.

Detective Tyler and Madison Barnhart team up to solve the Chester Creek crimes.

The story jumps around a lot, from years ago to present time, and to and fro among the lives of the three victims, Madison and her Venator investigators, and Tyler. But different scenarios are set in their own chapters, so the overall story line is easy enough to follow.

The reader will recognize the research techniques and records being searched, and that’s what makes Goodwin’s books so interesting: he weaves a story of fiction and mystery inside a world we’re familiar with, but we’re not having to do any of the work. We just relax and read about someone else’s dilemmas in trying to solve the puzzles.

The mystery crime story genre is a popular reading category. Genealogy is a popular pursuit.

Goodwin unites the two, and we’re always ready to enjoy his books.

The Chester Creek Murders is available in paperback, Kindle, Kobo, Apple Books, and as an audio book from the author at