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.
An anti-immigrant attack propels Welsh-Huggins's timely fifth mystery featuring Columbus, Ohio, PI Andy Hayes (after 2017's The Hunt). Andy has just finished shopping when he spots two white guys hassling a Somali woman in a grocery parking lot. One of the thugs is pulling on her head scarf; she's fighting back with one hand and trying to shield her crying kids with the other. Andy intervenes and rescues the woman, a good deed that impresses the local Somali community, in particular the parents of 19-year-old Abdi Hirsi, a model student who disappeared three days after the family learned that his self-radicalized older brother, Hassan, had been killed fighting in Syria. Terrorist social media messages allegedly posted by Abdi shortly before he vanished have brought in the FBI. After reluctantly agreeing to try to find Abdi, Andy soon realizes that everyone he interviews is hiding something, including Abukar Abdulkadir, the community liaison helping the Hirsis. Welsh-Huggins educates and entertains as he explores immigrant issues through his empathetic hero's investigation.