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.
Reporter Welsh-Huggins's workmanlike 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. On the behalf of client Ted Hamilton, Hayes manages to retrieve a laptop from high school student Pete Freeley with an embarrassing video, of which Hamilton is the unwilling star, but Hayes is beaten and robbed of it before he can wipe it clean. The missing laptop has information that affects not only Hamilton but also police detective Henry Fielding, O.S.U. booster Bobby Fletcher, English teacher Anne Cooper, FBI agent Cindy Morris, and Pete's father, businessman Doug Freeley. Hayes proves an appealing, if not terribly effective, investigator. The author's use of iconic Columbus landmarks and lots of Buckeye lore will appeal to O.S.U. fans.