Ona Russell



Ona Russell


Solana Beach, CA, USA


Fiction, Historical Fiction, Thriller and Mystery

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I am the author of three historical mysteries, all set in the 1920s. The Natural Selection was a finalist in the 2009 California Book Awards and Rule of Capture won an IPPY silver medal for regional fiction. Each book has an actual historical courtroom trial at the center. The first, O’Brien’s Desk, is set in Ohio, the second in Tennessee (against the backdrop of the Scopes “Monkey” trial, and the third in Los Angeles and Tijuana. O’Brien’s Desk was inspired by hidden scrapbooks filled with news clippings that revealed a secret about a family member who was a prominent judge. In those scrapbooks, I also discovered Sarah Kaufman, the woman who would become my fictional sleuth. As a result of that book, the real Sarah was inducted into the Toledo Civic Hall of Fame.I have also been published in literary and law magazines and in newspapers. My essays also deal with historical figures, including my grandfather, brother of noted architect Louis Kahn. In all my writing, I am interested in the overlooked and forgotten, or, to paraphrase poet Rita Dove, in the shadows. Specifically, in attempting to make the “shadow shine.”

I hold a PhD from UC San Diego where I taught for many years. I’ve lecture on “literature and the law” to legal organizations throughout the state and have moderated and/or served on numerous literary panels. I love meeting with book clubs, as I am a people person and always learn something new, not only about my books but about the lives of others. I am a mother, grandmother and have three extremely neurotic dogs. Oh, and I have a husband, too!


Book Title 1

Rule of Capture 

Book Cover 1

Book Title 2

The Natural Selection 

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Book Title 3

O’Brien’s Desk 

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Book Title 4

Son of Nothingness

Book Cover 4

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