Set just after WWII, Russell’s excellent fifth Hook Runyon mystery (after 2013’s The Hanging of Samuel Ash) teams the Oklahoma railroad detective with Ria Wolfe, a Boston University graduate student in the budding area of forensic science. Ria, who wants to do field research for her dissertation on crime, meets Hook at the Waynoka rail yards, where she persuades him to allow her to observe him on the job. On their first outing, they come upon the murdered and mutilated body of a 16-year-old boy in a makeshift campsite under a railroad bridge. Other similarly mutilated corpses turn up along the railway line in Kansas and Texas. Ria and Hook, each in their separate ways, set out to catch the killer. Russell has created a fully realized protagonist: a man who loves to read fiction (he’s fond of H.G. Wells’s The Invisible Man), has experienced hard times as a former hobo, and knows the value of kindness. The often witty dialogue and seamless narrative prose carry the reader along to the satisfying resolution. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/25/2017 Release date: 11/07/2017 Genre: Fiction
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