Andy Hayes

The Hunt–“Prose as tight as a garrote…”

“Call it Russ Belt noir. Call it a hybrid of whodunit and thriller. But above all, call it splendid — and this talented author’s best yet.”

That’s the assessment of The Hunt by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, with the review reproduced in its entirety below. And stay tuned for details on my visit to the Barnes and Noble in Pickerington, Ohio, on Aug. 5…

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With five prostitutes already dead at the hands of a serial killer in Columbus, Ohio, Jessica Byrnes’ brother Bill worries when he doesn’t hear from her for months and calls private investigator Andy Hayes.

So begins “The Hunt” (264 pages, Swallow Press, $26.95), the fourth installment in Columbus-based Associated Press reporter Andrew Welsh-Huggins’ series featuring the onetime star quarterback for Ohio State who disgraced himself in a point-shaving scandal.

Andy takes the case and embarks on a search for Jessica, aided by his friend Theresa Sullivan, a former hooker who now works at a mission church. 

Get ready for a pinball ride through Columbus and environs as the two face danger from a vicious pimp and assorted other lowlifes, stonewalling from sex workers and tight-lipped cops, and graphic background stories from the victims of prostitution. Along the way, they encounter an ambitious congresswoman aiming for a Senate seat.

Rife with violence, “The Hunt” focuses on the scourge of human trafficking. But Welsh-Huggins also incorporates further development of Andy’s story as he tries to balance his work life with his duties to his two sons — one from each of his former wives — and his relationship with his current girlfriend.

Intelligently plotted, with prose as tight as a garrote, a strong stamp of place and a multidimensional gallery of characters, “The Hunt” excavates the filthy underworld of major cities.

Call it Russ Belt noir. Call it a hybrid of whodunit and thriller. But above all, call it splendid — and this talented author’s best yet.

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