Intrigue abounds in new books by three local writers.

Columbus has “starred” recently as a film location, first as a crime-ridden capital in John Travolta's “I Am Wrath,” then as a futuristic trailer park in this month's “Ready Player One.” Now, three local mystery authors are bringing familiar Ohio settings to life in the pages of their latest novels. Meet all three at the Ohioana Book Festival on April 14, and read these releases to see how the city fares in literature.




Andrew Welsh-Huggins

Number of books: Five fiction, two nonfiction

New release: “The Third Brother,” Andy Hayes mystery series (April 2018)

Synopsis: Private eye Andy Hayes returns for the fifth adventure in his namesake series, hired this time by a Somali-American family to find their missing son, who vanishes amid accusations of plotting a terror attack in Columbus. Hayes must fend off FBI agents while encountering a mysterious white supremacist group along the way.

Main character: A beloved Ohio State quarterback turned fallen angel, Andy Hayes tries to leave his bad-boy ways behind and reinvent himself as a private eye in Columbus.

Author's inspired reading: The Spenser series by Robert B. Parker and the Milan Jacovich series by Les Roberts

On tips for writing success: “I think the key to writing a good mystery novel is to play fair with the reader and give them reasons to want to read all the way to the end as quickly as possible.”

Kristen Lepionka

Number of books: Two fiction

New release: “What You Want to See,” Roxane Weary mystery series (May 2018)

Synopsis: Private investigator Roxane Weary is at work again, hired this time by a man to look into his fiancé's possible affair. Just days into the case, the woman she's following is killed in an apparent mugging, leading Weary down a path into the woman's secret life and dark past.

Main character: Tough but vulnerable, private investigator Roxane Weary lives and works in Columbus, where she faces danger head-on while combating her own personal demons.

Author's inspired reading: The Kinsey Millhone alphabet series by Sue Grafton

On writing a strong female character: “I think the main thing that readers notice about her is that she's kind of a mess—which is something that female characters don't always get to be. A lot of the complexities are reserved for the male hero […] so I really love writing a complicated but still badass woman.”

Robin Yocum

Number of books: Five fiction, two nonfiction

New release: “A Perfect Shot” (April 2018)

Synopsis: Nearly 20 years after making the winning shot in the state championship basketball game, local legend Nicholas Ducheski opens a successful restaurant in his hometown of Mingo Junction, Ohio—then disaster strikes. After his best friend is murdered, “Duke” must decide if he is willing to sacrifice his treasured identity to do what is right by his friend.

Main character: Adored by the community, Nicholas “Duke” Ducheski tries to redefine himself and find meaning beyond his famed winning shot.

Author's inspired reading: James Lee Burke and John Steinbeck

On setting books in Ohio: “Most of my books are set in the Ohio River Valley around Steubenville. I like that area—that kind of steel-mill, coal-mine, glass-factory area that was very industrial when I was growing up. The grit and the grind, I call it.”

Want to get Columbus Monthly in your inbox? Sign up for our e-newsletter.