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 six Andy Hayes mysteries: Fourth Down and Out, Slow Burn, Capitol Punishment, The Hunt, The Third Brother, and Fatal Judgment. He also wrote 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, both from Ohio University Press.