Monday, November 15, 2021

Fourth Down and Out by Andrew Welsh-Huggins

Andrew Welsh-Huggins’ first private investigator Andy Hayes novel, Fourth Down and Out, from 2014, is a terrific read.

Hayes is a PI with an unusual past.

As a college football star for the Ohio State University, he was involved in a scandal that ended his career and made him one of the most hated personalities in Columbus, Ohio.

Now, 20 years later, avid fans of the team still recognize Andy and let him know, loudly, just what they think of him.

Andy primarily works for a local lawyer, who needs detective work or has clients who need it.

In this case, a middle-age man caught on video with a high school girl finds himself being blackmailed. He contacts Andy to find the blackmailer and erase the video. Fortunately, the movie has not hit the web. It resides on a laptop that proves difficult to find.

Other people want the machine and just as Andy gets his hands on it, he is jumped by to thugs hired to retrieve it. One of the thugs, a football fan, recognizes Andy and gives him an extra hard thumping.

The thug is later found murdered, further complicating the case.

Andrew Welsh-Huggins, an Associated Press reporter, lays out a complicated plot with many twists and turns, running his protagonist all around the city, the burbs and the countryside. He also fills the book with a fine sense of what big-time college football means to the residents of the area.

So far, there are seven books in the Andy Hayes series.

This series was highlighted recently
(here and here) by my friend Col, at his site Col’s Criminal Library, a great source for finding out what’s new in crime fiction.

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