The Yard Dog

The Yard Dog

The Yard Dog

By Dr. Sheldon Russell

St. Martin’s Press

This first in a mystery series features railroad detective Hook Runyon.  Near the close of World War II, a large number of German POWs were incarcerated in camps on the  prairies of the United States.  When a local coal picker for the railroad is found run over by a refrigerator car near Camp Alva, railroad agent Hook Runyon is called in to investigate. But while looking into what at first looks like a simple accident, Hook finds himself drawn into a far more sinister world of Nazi prisoners, stolen art, and murder.

The second book, Insane Train, continues the adventures of Hook Runyon.

Here’s what the critics are saying about The Yard Dog:

“Set in Oklahoma at the close of WWII, Russell’s engrossing mystery casts light on a little-known corner of American History. . . .  Russell (Dreams to Dust) impressively contrasts the book’s raw, colorful characters with the harsh Oklahoma landscape.”  – Publishers Weekly

“This is a marvelous read, especially for the way that Russell depicts the long reach of the Depression on people’s lives.”  – Booklist

“Rarely does a book the quality of The Yard Dog come along.  Sheldon Russell is the sniper and The Yard Dog hits the bull’s-eye.  Well-written characters, a diabolical plot and Nazis in an Oklahoma prison camp:  The Yard Dog has everything it takes to make this the best mystery of the year–or in years!  It’ll be a real crime if The Yard Dog doesn’t win an Edgar–it is that good.” – Robert E. Vardeman, author Death Channels

“Pungent as the coal smoke hanging over a railroad yard, Sheldon Russell’s elegantly written The Yard Dog offers a fascinating glimpse of raw passions in an unusual World War II setting that is true to its time and place.  As Oklahoma as Woody Guthrie, The Yard Dog is bound for glory.” – Carolyn Hart, author of Dare to Die and Ghost at Work

“Reading The Yard Dog, I could feel the hot coal cinders from passing locomotive engines burn the back of my neck.  The setting is pitch perfect mid-century American noir, and I’m hooked on Hook Runyon!”  – James R. Benn, author of Evil For Evil:  A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery

“The plot is gripping, the writing is crisp, and the setting is both historically accurate and immensely evocative.  This is a terrific novel.”  –  William Bernhardt, author of Nemesis:  The Final Case of Eliot Ness

“Russell has created one of the most noteworthy characters in modern detective fiction. . . . The Yard Dog has so much to offer. Russell relives the horrors of Hitler’s Germany, and its impact on rural Americans in the form of POW camps. Into this mix he brings a one-armed yard dog, a book collector who takes a shine to moonshine. And there’s a new lady in his life, Dr. Reina Kaplan, who is down from New York to teach English to the prisoners. The plot is well thought out, the characters memorable, the setting unusual, overall it’s incredible. The Yard Dog is not only one of the best debuts of the year, it is among the best mysteries of the year.”  – Mystery Books News

“It’s regrettable that Guthrie author Sheldon Russell doesn’t enjoy wider popularity because his latest effort deserves more notice than it may get.  He’s as talented as John Grisham, perhaps more so.  Labeled a mystery, his new novel, “The Yard Dog,” entices the reader from page to page with its flawless writing and its insightful display of knowledge about human nature, history, railroading, art, survival and much more. . . . Russell builds the characters so effectively that the reader will think they are real. . . . Indeed, he has a gift for writing.”  –

%d bloggers like this: