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A Swallow Press Book

An Empty Grave
An Andy Hayes Mystery

By Andrew Welsh-Huggins

Nominated for the 2022 Seamus Award for Best Original Paperback PI Novel

“Columbus PI Andy Hayes never disappoints, and An Empty Grave is no exception. This latest installment of the Andy Hayes Series hooks readers from page 1 with all the ingredients for suspense. With a keen eye for fascinating crime and clever prose, Andrew Welsh-Huggins is a writer that will leave detective fiction fans in hard-boiled heaven.”

Meredith Doench, author of the Luce Hansen Thriller series

An Empty Grave is an excellent mystery featuring a recognizably human investigator. Readers will identify with Andy and admire his strengths and the dedication he brings to his clients.”

Marilyn Brooks, Marilyn's Mystery Reads

“A first-rate storyteller, Welsh-Huggins … masters depth of characterization as he further explores the personal life of twice-divorced Andy as he copes with a complex love life, the teenage angst of his two sons and his checkered past. Often violent, always stirring and profoundly affecting, An Empty Grave displays Welsh-Huggins at his creative and deft best as a talented practitioner of crime fiction at once dark and humane.”

Jay Strafford, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

“The seventh ‘Andy Hayes’ mystery, following Fatal Judgment, is a satisfying, complex story for readers who enjoy hard-boiled private eyes who struggle with their personal lives.”

Library Journal

Private investigator Andy Hayes takes the assignment against his better judgment.

In 1979, a high-profile burglar shot a cop, was apprehended, and then disappeared without ever being prosecuted. Forty years later, after the wounded cop’s suicide, his son, Preston Campbell, is convinced there’s been a cover-up that allowed his father’s attacker to go free. At first, Hayes dismisses Campbell’s outlandish conspiracy theories. But when a mysterious Cold War connection to the burglar emerges, the investigation heats up, and Hayes discovers a series of deaths that seem to be connected, one way or another, to the missing criminal. Nothing seems to add up, though, and Hayes finds himself hurtling headlong down a decades-old path of deadly secrets.

In the midst of cracking the cold case, Hayes has another mystery to solve closer to home: What’s been troubling his younger son, Joe, and why is his ex-wife so eager to have the boy out of her house? Further complicating matters, Hayes learns that another private eye, the captivating but inscrutable Hillary Quinne, is also on the trail of the vanished burglar and needs Hayes’s help. As their professional and personal lives blur, Hayes wonders what he’s gotten himself into, and whether he really wants out.

Andrew Welsh-Huggins is a reporter for the Associated Press in Columbus, Ohio, and the Nero Award–finalist author of seven mysteries from Swallow Press featuring Andy Hayes, a former Ohio State and Cleveland Browns quarterback turned private eye. Welsh-Huggins is also the editor of Columbus Noir (Akashic Books) and his short fiction has appeared in publications including Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Mystery Weekly, and Mystery Tribune. His nonfiction book No Winners Here Tonight (Ohio University Press) is the definitive history of the death penalty in Ohio.   More info →


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In Series

Andy Hayes Mysteries




Retail price: $21.95, T.
Release date: June 2021
264 pages · 5½ × 8½ in.
Rights:  World

Release date: June 2021
264 pages
Rights:  World

Additional Praise for An Empty Grave

“Welsh-Huggins has created a truly hard-boiled, streetwise detective that, in spite of a tarnished history, some severe character flaws, and an acidic tongue, has survived and thrived in this series. And likeably so.”

Robin Yocum, author of A Brilliant Death

“The grave is empty and the murderers are loose in Welsh-Huggins’s latest thriller. In this exhilarating mash-up of wry wit, dogged detective work, and lethal adversaries, PI Andy Hayes exhumes a forty-year-old cold case loaded with mystery and mayhem. A compelling, up-to-the-minute read.”

Annie Hogsett, author of the Somebody’s Bound to Wind Up Dead Mysteries Series

An Empty Grave, the latest gripping installment in the PI Andy Hayes series, will hook you from page one. Hayes, the deeply flawed ex-football-player-turned-private-eye reluctantly takes on the case of a possible cover-up in the disappearance of a high-profile burglar who shot a cop in 1979 and then disappeared. With a journalist’s eye for details, clever, muscular prose, and dialogue as sharp as cut glass, this is Welsh-Huggins’s best yet.”

Connie Berry, author of the Kate Hamilton Mysteries series

“Just when the plot seems to be taking a turn to the unbelievable, Welsh-Huggins reins it in and introduces a thread that reminds readers how society has changed from the 1970s to the present. Clearly, Welsh-Huggins has pounded the central Ohio pavement in his day job, with the benefit of being able to pack his novel with streets, neighborhoods, restaurants and other locations readers will recognize.”

The Columbus Dispatch

“[Welsh-Huggins] excels at storytelling. With a reporter’s eye and a novelist’s flair, he raises the bar with each entry in his series. And his deepening development of Andy adds gravitas.”

Richmond Times-Dispatch

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