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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 older 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 cop on her own quest for justice, Hayes rushes to find the judge, and the truth, before it’s too late.
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.