A Swallow Press Book

Fourth Down and Out
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

“Midwesterners and football fans will find the most enjoyment in Fourth Down and Out, but even for private eye fans at large, this is a promising new series with a lot of charm.”

Black Heart Magazine

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.

Andrew Welsh-Huggins covers criminal justice issues for The Associated Press in Columbus, Ohio. He is the author of four Andy Hayes mysteries: Fourth Down and Out, Slow Burn, Capitol Punishment, and The Hunt, as well as No Winners Here Tonight: Race, Politics, and Geography in One of the Country’s Busiest Death Penalty States and Hatred at Home: Al-Qaida on Trial in the American Midwest.



Retail price: $16.95, T.
Release date: Apr. 2015
272 pages · 5½ × 8½ in.
Rights: World


Retail price: $26.95, T.
Release date: Apr. 2014
272 pages · 5½ × 8½ in.
Rights: World


Release date: Apr. 2014
≅ 272 pages
Rights: World

Additional Praise for Fourth Down and Out

Fourth Down And Out is a tall, frosty stein of Middle-American noir, backed with a healthy shot of wry.”

Bill Osinski, author of Guilty by Popular Demand and Ungodly

“Columbus resident Welsh-Huggins has his scene down pat, from government buildings to trendy coffee shops, and he makes good use of his familiarity, such as knowing the best abandoned quarry to dump a body into. Similar to how James Lee Burke treats Cajun country or Sue Grafton the California coast, Welsh-Huggins is out to make Columbus a character.”

ForeWord Reviews

“Andy (Hayes) is an agreeable narrator with a dry wit and a bit of a martyr’s complex. His dark past under center for the Buckeyes plays into the satisfying conclusion of this solid debut thriller from an AP legal-affairs reporter based in Columbus.”


“Reporter Welsh-Huggins’s…debut, the first in a series, introduces Andy Hayes, a Columbus, Ohio, PI, and—for reasons explained late in the story—perhaps the most reviled former football player in Ohio State history…. The author’s use of iconic Columbus landmarks and lots of Buckeye lore will appeal to O.S.U. fans.”

Publishers Weekly