A former Oklahoma public school English teacher, Sheldon Russell retired as a professor emeritus from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2000. Before he retired, he had already published his first novel, Empire, in 1993 with Evans Publications, Inc.
He followed that suspense novel with two historic frontier titles—The Savage Trail (Pinnacle Books, 1993) and Requiem at Dawn(Pinnacle Books, 2000). Requiem at Dawn was a finalist for Best Original Paperback in the 2001 Western Writers of America, Inc., Spur Awards competition.
In 2006, the University of Oklahoma Press released Dreams to Dust: A Tale of the Oklahoma Land Rush, which won the 2007 Oklahoma Book Award in Fiction and was selected as an Official Oklahoma Centennial Project. The book went on to win the 2006 Langum Prize for Historical Literature.
With The Yard Dog: A Mystery (Minotaur Books, September 2009), Russell introduced the Hook Runyon Mystery Series. The Insane Train, Dead Man’s Tunnel, and The Hanging of Samuel Ash. The Dig (University of Oklahoma Press, 2013)—a stand alone title—followed.
Fall 2017 saw the return of the Hook Runyon Mystery Series with the release of Book 5—The Bridge Troll Murders (RoadRunner Press, 2017). Calling the book “excellent,” Publishers Weekly gave The Bridge Troll Murders a STARRED REVIEW, citing “the often witty dialogue and seamless narrative prose.” The Bridge Troll Murders went on to receive the 2018 Oklahoma Book Award in Fiction.