After a fire at the Baldwin Insane Asylum kills many and destroys part of the facility, railroad yard dog Hook Runyon is called upon to transfer the inmates to a new facility—one that hasn’t been used in many years and might not be in any shape to house the criminally insane. Because of the planned move, most of the staff is quitting meaning there will be few trained to deal with those needing to be transported; furthermore, Hook is suspicious about the fire’s origin. He grows more suspicious when all who ate at the asylum’s cafeteria fall ill. It’s up to Hook to investigate while trusting only the men he’s brought on board as well as a nurse named Andrea, who he develops a bit of a romance with.
I had the culprit nailed down fairly early, but appreciated the way Sheldon Russell cast suspicion on others while also setting up the reveal. Unfortunately, the motivation for the killings was a bit ho-hum. I hoped for something more, especially considering the three settings (insane asylum, train, and a rundown fort with prison cells). Everything up to the reveal of the motivation, however, was stellar; I particularly enjoyed the little scraps that Hook frequently got in.
Review copy provided by Nancy Berland Public Relations, Inc.
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