Jaye Winston is an investigator with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, a position she has held since 1989. She lives in apartment six at 8801 Willoughby Avenue in Los Angeles, and is registered as a Democrat. In the book she is described as slim with straight, mid-length blonde hair. She works out of the Sheriff's Training Academy and Regional Services (STARS) Center in Whittier. Her supervisor was Lt. Dan Buskirk.
In the Summer of 1993, she worked with her partner, Dan Sistrunk, and FBI profiler Terry McCaleb on the investigation into the murder of Lisa Mondrian, and arrested serial killer Luther Hatch with McCaleb's information.
In January of 1998, she investigated the murder of James Cordell, but failed to arrest a suspect. In April of 1998, she helped McCaleb acquire information on the murders of Cordell, Gloria Torres, Chan Ho Kang and Donald Kenyon, so that McCaleb could continue those investigations. She and McCaleb subsequently met with witness James Noone, who underwent hypnosis in order to more clearly recall the night that he found Cordell. The FBI subsequently took over the case, but Winston assisted McCaleb behind the scenes because they trusted each other. Together they identified the killer.
In mid-January 2001, Winston visited McCaleb again in Avalon Bay on Catalina Island to enlist his help in the investigation into the New Year's Day murder of Edward Gunn. This leads both Winston and McCaleb to suspect LAPD Detective Harry Bosch.