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Almost two years have passed since Aaron Custer supposedly set a fire at a house in Columbus that killed three college students, including the young woman with whom he had argued just hours before. Prosecutors had an ironclad case against Custer, a convicted firebug whose fingerprints were found on the lighter that started the blaze and who quickly pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty.Private investigator and fallen Ohio State football star Andy Hayes is skeptical when Custer’s grandmother asks him to reopen the investigation by finding a mysterious witness who may have seen the real culprit that night. Andy’s doubts fade as he uncovers a tangle of motives for the victims’ deaths, implicating the state’s natural gas fracking boom, drug dealers, and more. But to delve deeper, Andy must once again make amends with his past. TV reporter Suzanne Gregory, a former fiancée, has more information on the Orton Avenue fire than any journalist in town, but asking for her help means reopening old wounds — just as Andy has embarked on a new relationship he’s determined not to screw up. As Andy follows Custer’s trail down ever-darker paths, he must revisit his past and decide whether he can afford to forfeit his future. Author and reviewer Bill Osinski called Fourth Down and Out, the first of the Andy Hayes mysteries, “A tall, frosty stein of Middle-American noir, backed with a healthy shot of wry.” In this second installment, Andrew Welsh-Huggins draws on real events and current affairs to bring his city to life — warts and all .
As a serial killer stalks prostitutes in Columbus, Ohio, a distraught brother asks private investigator Andy Hayes to find his sister before it’s too late. In a deadly race against time, Andy soon learns he’s not the only person hunting Jessica Byrnes, but he may be the only one who wants her alive. Byrnes hasn’t been seen in weeks following a downward slide that started as a runaway teenager and may have ended permanently on the streets. Assisting Andy is ex-prostitute Theresa Sullivan. She now works at St. Andrew’s, the mission church run by Andy’s pal the Reverend Roy Roberts, who is less than keen on Theresa reliving the memories that nearly killed her. A local congresswoman making headlines with her work against human trafficking puts pressure on Andy to solve the case, while the police don’t want him near their exhaustive search for the murderer. At the same time, Andy’s hunt for Jessica exposes the buying and selling of trafficked women across the region. Looming over Andy’s increasingly desperate search is the shadow of his most dangerous adversary yet.
The job seems simple enough: Reporter Lee Hershey needs protection for a couple of weeks as he pursues the biggest story of his career with all eyes on swing state Ohio in the midst of a presidential election. Columbus private eye Andy Hayes, broke as usual, doesn’t have much choice but to sign on, even with his girlfriend falling for the charming journalist. Then murder strikes at the Statehouse and Andy finds himself partly responsible for the death. With an innocent man behind bars, a mysterious vehicle following Andy around the city, and more lives in danger, the detective has his hands full trying to solve a killing in a poisonous political environment where everyone has a motive for murder and anyone could be the next target.
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.
It’s a violent encounter that private investigator Andy Hayes could have done without. One minute he’s finishing up some grocery shopping ahead of a custody visit with his sons. The next, he must come to the rescue of a Somali-American mother and her young children as anti-immigrant bullies torment them. Grateful for his intervention, the Somali community hires Andy to find a missing teenager who vanished without a trace and is now accused of plotting a terror attack in his adopted hometown of Columbus, Ohio. The government is certain that nineteen-year-old Abdi Mohamed followed in the footsteps of his brother, who died in Syria a few months earlier in a jihadi assault. But Mohamed’s family isn’t convinced, describing a soccer-loving American kid who renounced his brother’s actions and planned to attend college in the fall and become a diplomat someday. Soon Andy is fending off fed-up FBI agents and dueling with a mysterious foe with links to the white supremacist movement. As he draws ever closer to the truth behind Mohamed’s disappearance, Hayes stumbles onto a conspiracy that could put hundreds of lives in danger, including his own two boys.
Judge Laura Porter fiercely guarded her privacy, and never more so than during her long-running--and long in the past--affair with disgraced quarterback-turned-private investigator Andy Hayes. Now she's missing, disappeared just hours after she calls Andy out of the blue explaining she's in trouble and needs his help. A trail of clues leads Andy to a central Ohio swamp whose future lies in the judge's hands as she weighs a lawsuit pitting environmentalists against developers. Soon Hayes encounters the case of another missing person, a young man who vanished without a trace in a different swamp two counties away. As he looks for links between the two disappearances, Hayes is led from Columbus to Cleveland, unearthing a history of secrets and betrayals threatening not just the judge but her family as well. Along the way, Hayes is forced to confront a newly strained relationship with his oldest son, now a budding football star himself, and revisit his tumultuous days as a Cleveland Browns quarterback and the gridiron failures that haunt him to this day. In partnership with a female cop on her own quest for justice, Hayes rushes to find the judge, and the truth, before it's too late.
'Direkt, brutal, amoralisch, sexistisch. Brillant.' Wiener Hoke Moseley bekommt von seinem Chef den Auftrag, fünfzig bereits zu den Akten gelegte Morde neu aufzurollen: neue Hoffnung für die Toten und damit neue Probleme für den vom Leben ohnehin schon stark gebeutelten Detective. Denn chronisch pleite und übergewichtig muss Moseley sich bereits mit dem Tod eines Junkies, stumpfsinnigen Dienstverordnungen, liebestollen Hunden und verwesenden Rentnern auseinandersetzen. Und plötzlich stehen auch noch Hokes minderjährige Töchter vor der Tür und wollen bei ihm wohnen. 'Zum ersten Mal Willeford zu lesen ist genau wie die erste Berührung mit der Musik von Miles Davis: Wir werden von der gleichen kalten, sardonischen Knappheit attackiert, aber gleichzeitig gibt es bizarre Wendungen und eine echte, liebevolle Note.' Janwillem van de Wetering

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