The Hook Runyon series takes place in the late 1940s in Oklahoma, Texas, California, and Arizona, and features one-armed rail road bull Hook Runyon and his mutt, Mixer. Hook has been crippled in a car accident and thus has not gone to war alongside many man of his generation. Instead, he has been hired by the railroad to catch pickpockets, deal with strikers and keep an eye out for hobos illegally riding the rails. Sheldon Russell has created an unlikely and unwilling hero who lives in an old caboose, collects rare books and has a fondness for moonshine. Hook is appealing in his outsider status, in his tough-guy stance with an intellectual and emotional backbone. Russell’s mysteries are tightly plotted, filled with quirky and layered characters, and abundant in searing descriptions of the American West as well as railroad lore.