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Sheldon Russell Books In Order

Publication Order of Hook Runyon Mystery Books

The Yard Dog (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Insane Train (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dead Man's Tunnel (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Hanging of Samuel Ash (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Bridge Troll Murders (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Empire (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Savage Trail (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Requiem at Dawn (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dreams to Dust (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Dig: In Search of Coronado's Treasure (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Sheldon Russell is a popular author hailing from America, who has particular interests in writing thriller, historical fiction, and mystery novels. He is well known for writing the Hook Runyon mysteries, which depict the chief protagonist as Hook Runyon. He is shown as a security agent of a railroad, working for the Santa Fe Railroad. The events of this series are described as having taken place during the middle of the 1940’s. Before the start of his writing career, author Sheldon used to work as an English teacher at a public school in Oklahoma. In 2000, he retired as professor emeritus from the Central Oklahoma University. The debut novel published by him is called Empire. It was released in 1993 by the Evans Publications. Author Sheldon followed this suspense novel with a couple historical fiction titles between 1993 and 2000. The latter of the two titles, Requiem at Dawn, went on to become a finalist in the competition of Spur Awards in 2001, organized by the American Western Writers, Inc., in the category of the Best Original Paperback. In 2006, his other book, called Dreams of Lust, was published by the Oklahoma University Press. This book won the Book Award of Oklahoma in Fiction and was chosen as the official Centennial Project of America. Finally, it was in 2009 that author Sheldon came up with the first book of his bestselling mystery series and introduced the readers to his new protagonist named Hook Runyon. In its first book, the series shows Hook Runyon investigating a murder case at a railroad yard in Oklahoma, close to a camp of German POWs at the time of the World War Two. Apart from writing, author Sheldon is also quite well known for his other profession of teaching. As a professor of English, he has taught at Louisville University. As of today, author Sheldon resides in Guthrie, Oklahoma, and dedicates all his time writing suspense and thriller novels. During his spare times, he likes to relax and visit some peaceful places. Author Sheldon looks to develop his plots and characters in a way such that he is able to give his fans all that they expect from him. He also likes to remain in contact with them through social media platforms and inform them about the latest happenings in his career as well as the publication dates of his upcoming books.

The Hook Runyon Mystery series written by Sheldon Russell is comprised of a total of 4 books, which were released between the years 2009 and 2013. The first book of this series is entitled ‘The Yard Dog’. It was released in the year 2009 by the Minotaur Books publication. Author Sheldon has described the central characters in the book’s plot as Reina Kaplan, Runt, Spark Dugan, and Hook Runyon. The plot takes place at a time when the World War II is about the come to an end. Many POWs of the German Nazis get incarcerated in the camps scattered all over the prairies of America. At the start of the story of the book, it is depicted that Hook Runyon is given a task by the railroad to arrest pickpockets and run-off hobos at the Waynoka Divisional Point, close to the Alva POW Camp. Because of the loss of an arm in a terrible car accident, Hook Runyon has been left behind in war. Now, he resides in a caboose, drinks liquor keeps a collection of rare books. Later, Hook Runyon comes to know that a coal picker named Spark Duncan is found dead. He was run over by car. Hook begins the investigation and is joined by his sidekick named Runt, who is a local moonshiner.

Both Runt and Hook Runyon suspect some foul play in Spark Dugan’ death. Soon, they get involved in deadly scheme, which appears to be far more dangerous and hardly imagined by either of the two. The conspiracy goes on to reach the highest echelons in the POW camp and even beyond it. The deeper Hook Runyon and Runt dig into the investigation, the more they feel being pushed to the extremity of their limits both mentally and physically. The character of Hook appears to be a complex one. He seems equally vulnerable and rough. Overall, he looks like an unwilling and an unlikely hero. His pairing with Dr. Reina Kaplan looks to be a perfect one. Kaplan is shown as a Jewish woman stationed at the Alva Camp. She is fighting against the demons of her own and finds it difficult to carry out her duties of educating the inmates in the camp. Reina Kaplan is made to teach the Nazi inmates about the basics of democracy before they could be returned to their country. The book looks to be a fascinating mystery because of the vivid descriptions and periodic detailing. The use of stark landscapes and exciting characters by author Sheldon in describing the plot make the book an even more interesting read.

Another interesting book of the mystery series is called ‘Dead Man’s Tunnel’. It was also released by the Minotaur publication in 2012. Author Sheldon has mentioned the important characters in this story as Allison Capron and Hook Runyon. At the beginning of the novel’s plot, it is shown that as the WWII is about to end, Hook Runyon is asked to visit the West Salvage Yard, located in Arizona’s high desert, on regular duty. He is accompanied by his obedient dog named Mixer. The place is located not far away from the Johnson Canyon Tunnel. Even though the tunnel seems to be an ordinary and remote one like many other tunnels, it is considered to be an easy gateway to reach the steepest North American railroad grade. The tunnel also plays an important role in delivery war supplies as a bottleneck. Citing the importance of the tunnel in the effort, a 24 hour watch of military guards is set up for the entire duration. Hook is told to catch thieves in the region and remain away from any form of trouble. But, as soon as he learns that a guard has been killed by a train mid-tunnel, things begin to go awry. Lieutenant Capron from the ATD is asked to assist in the investigation. Initially, it is suspected that the guard might have committed suicide. But, the evidences found point towards a case of homicide involving a love triangle. As Hook Runyon is not able to fit his findings in any of the proposed theories, he suspects that a more sinister thing is involved in this case. Therefore, he begins to investigate independently to catch the murderer before he strikes again.

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