Iowa City Public Library's Reviews > The Yard Dog

The Yard Dog by Sheldon Russell
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's review
Jul 22, 2010

bookshelves: fiction, mysteries, staff-picks-blog, susan

The Yard Dog by Sheldon Russell is also a mystery set during World War II, but it is very different from Billy Boyle. This story is set in Oklahoma, in a railroad yard where the railroad detective (the “yard dog”), Hook Runyan,(so named because he has a hook where he lost his right hand which has kept him out of the military) investigates the death by train of his indigent friend Spark Dugan. Central to the plot is a nearby German POW camp whose residents sometimes work icing the produce cars that are travelling from California to the East Coast. Hook is a grim, determined character. He lives in a caboose, surrounded by the books that he collects and reads. Other characters include a young man who’s trying to support his mother and siblings while his older brothers are off fighting the war in the family tradition of making and selling moonshine, and a Jewish woman assigned to the POW camp to teach English and American ways to the prisoners. You get a good feel for those on the homefront, still struggling their way out of the Great Depression. The author lives in Oklahoma and knows it’s land and history. If you enjoy historical fiction and mysteries you’ll like this book. --Susan

From ICPL Staff Picks Blog

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