A Swallow Press Book

Fourth Down and Out — 2014

An Andy Hayes Mystery

By Andrew Welsh-Huggins

“Welsh-Huggins (does) a masterful job with the book, an entertaining, easy-to-read tale worthy of Robert B. Parker.”

Columbus Dispatch

“Like any other good detective novel, Fourth Down and Out has murder, dames, snappy dialogue and a tough, weary protagonist. This most entertaining fiction debut shows that noir can come in scarlet and gray.”

Akron Beacon-Journal

“With a wealth of Columbus-area color, an intriguing private detective with a shady past and more twists than many of Ohio’s back roads, Fourth Down and Out represents a top-notch opener for a writer who seems destined to score big.”

Richmond Times-Dispatch

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The job seems easy enough at first for private investigator Andy Hayes: save his client’s reputation by retrieving a laptop and erasing a troublesome video from its hard drive. But that’s before someone breaks into Andy’s apartment in Columbus; before someone else, armed with a shotgun, relieves him of the laptop; and before the FBI suddenly shows up on his doorstep asking questions.

Soon, there’s a growing list of people with a claim on the computer, all of them with secrets they don’t want uncovered. When one of those people ends up dead, Andy has his hands full convincing authorities he’s not responsible, while trying to figure out who is — and who’s got the laptop — before someone else dies. Soon the trail leads to the last place Andy wants to go: back to Ohio State University, where few have forgiven him for a mistake he made two decades earlier in his days as the Buckeyes’ star quarterback. That misjudgment sent him on a downward spiral that cost him a playing career, two marriages, several wrecked relationships, and above all his legacy in Ohio’s capital city, where the fortunes of the OSU team are never far from people’s minds.

As Andy tracks a laptop and a killer from the toniest of the city’s suburbs to its grittiest neighborhoods, he must confront a dark figure from his past and prove that this time he won’t drop the ball.

Picture of Andrew Welsh-Huggins

Andrew Welsh-Huggins is legal affairs reporter with the Associated Press in Columbus, Ohio. He has written extensively on capital punishment, the drug trade, and politics, and is the author of the first Andy Hayes mystery, Fourth Down and Out, also from Ohio University Press.

Photo credit: Emma Welsh-Huggins