The Insane Train

A Hook Runyon Mystery (Volume 2 of 4)

Sheldon Russell

Minotaur Books

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After a devastating fire at an insane asylum in California, Hook Runyon has been put in charge of security for a train that is to transport the survivors, alongside the head of the asylum, Dr. Baldwin, the attending doctor, taciturn Dr. Helms, and a self-sacrificing nurse named Andrea, to a new location in Oklahoma. Hook hires a motley crew of WW II veterans to help, and they set out for the new destination. But things go awry on the Insane Train, as several inmates and attendants are found dead, and Dr. Baldwin seems increasingly disoriented and incapable of running operations. With Andrea's help, Hook begins investigating the suspicious deaths, and uncovers a trail of revenge that has been a long time in the planning...by a person as mentally disturbed as her charges.

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Book Excerpts

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Chapter One

The Railroad Security agent Hook Runyon slipped on his arm prosthesis before sitting down in his caboose to read the Needles paper. “Boys Die in Barstow Asylum Fire,” the headlines read. He pushed the paper aside and poured a cup of coffee. There was nothing like starting a new day with coffee and a dose of human tragedy.

But he’d no sooner sat down when he heard Pap Gonzales, the Santa Fe section foreman, pull in with the motorcar. Pap was the section foreman here in Needles, California. His real name was Papan, though everyone called him Pap, including

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Reviews

Praise for The Insane Train

“There’s a train you want to catch in Sheldon Russell’s terrific historical crime novel THE INSANE TRAIN. … [Protagonist] Hook [Runyon] sets the rugged-but-sensitive tone of this outstanding series, which delivers thrilling action, great scenery and a full cast of complex characters searching for peace in a troubled postwar environment.”--New York Times

"The story unfolds with the stark clarity of a Clint Eastwood movie, underscored with rough, laconic humor and driven by strong characterizations and a powerful sense of time and place. The insights into railroad life and the treatment of the insane...flesh out the suspenseful storyline, as does the low-key romance between Hook, a complex man with an unexpected passion for collecting rare books, and a lonely, dedicated young nurse. Fresh and original, it's easily one of the best mysteries of the year."
--Denver Post
 
"This atmospheric historical crime novel is a thrilling ride." --San Francisco Chronicle
"Russell's acute sense of the historical elevates "The Insane Train." Russell excels at sharp dialogue and believable characters. "The Insane Train" chugs along at a brisk pace as it skillfully depicts a slice of American history."--Florida Sun Sentinel
 
"Sharply sketched characters and a vivid sense of place and time...highlighted the first Hook Runyon novel, The Yard Dog. This one has both of those attributes and adds sad but fascinating insights into the treatment of mental patients; the sclerotic, self-important rail industry; and the lingering pain of the Great Depression. A fine crime novel made even richer with solid historical background." --Booklist
 
"Russell’s book is full of well-drawn characters, especially the homeless veterans who have returned to take up the wandering ways they’d lived during the Depression. Readers who enjoy exploring out-of-the-way corners of history will like the details about railroads and care of the mentally ill in 1940s that the author has used to help set the stage. For fans of historical mysteries." --Library Journal
 
"...a fresh take on the classic 1940's noir mystery with a mesmerizing plot, intriguing characters and an interesting setting. It's another great read from this talented author." --FreshFiction.com
 
"A nail biter to the last page, this 1940’s noir style tome is an excellent read." -- Crimespree Magazine

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About the Author

Sheldon Russell

DR. SHELDON RUSSELL is the author of five novels. He lives in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

Sheldon Russell

Sheldon Russell

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Insane Train
Sheldon Russell

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
Minotaur Books
November 2010
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429941792
ISBN10: 1429941790
320 pages
$7.99

Hardcover

Hardcover
St. Martin's Press
Minotaur Books
November 2010
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780312566715
ISBN10: 0312566719
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 320 pages
$25.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
Minotaur Books
November 2010
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781250065575
ISBN10: 1250065577
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 320 pages
$18.99
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Minotaur Books

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