The Yard Dog
St. Martin’s, Sep 1 2009, $24.99
In Oklahoma as WWII draws to a close, Hook Runyan touches his armless sleeve and thinks back to his ex wife. She walked away without a mark from a car accident that cost him his limb in which he was a passenger and she the driver; she walked away from him too. Currently he lives alone in a junker caboose near where he works at the Waynoka Train depot just south of POW Camp Alva.
When his only friend moonshiner Spark Dugan is found dead in the Waynoka rail yards, no one cares except Hook who knows it his job as the local yard dog to investigate, but this is personal. He begins to uncover unsavory things about his dead buddy including his belonging to a smuggling ring stealing army supplies and selling them on the black market and with ties to the camp. Camp Commander major Foreman refuses to cooperate while newcomer Dr. Reina Kaplan implements an internationally outlawed brainwashing program. Neither of them can deter Hook from his inquiry
This is a super mid 1940s mystery that uses the investigation to provide readers with a deep look at the POW camps on American soil and at rationing American capitalist style. The story line is fast-paced as the YARD DOG Hook does his detective job by conducting an inquiry into the death of his buddy. Although the whodunit is well written and very entertaining, the historical view owns the novel as Sheldon Russell provides the audience with an interesting glimpse at WWII in the Oklahoma home front.