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THE DOGS by Allan Stratton Kirkus Star


by Allan Stratton

Age Range: 12 - 16

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4926-0938-4
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Cameron Weaver’s father tried to kill his mother, and now they are on the run, again.

Cameron and his mother have moved into a “creep house” in Wolf Hollow, a house perhaps haunted and rumored to have been the site of murders and bodies never recovered. What seems to be known is the former owner of the house, Mr. McTavish, was an abusive husband and father, and some believe he murdered his son, wife, and her lover. Cameron seems to see the ghost of young Jacky McTavish, and his active imagination begins concocting murder scenarios, such as bodies wrapped in plastic and hanging from a rafter in the nailed-shut attic. Stratton masterfully constructs a creepy gothic setting, using italicized interior monologue to show Cameron’s mind at odds with himself, and readers will soon suspect that Cameron may well be unhinged as they try to discern what is real and what is the product of Cameron’s “thinking like a lunatic.” A monstrous, stalking father, unhinging nightmares, a ghostly boy, wild dogs, and a moldy basement add creepy deliciousness to a murder mystery and tale of a boy who, in trying to solve a mystery, may just discover what a loving family might be.

An engrossing blend of murder mystery and family story. (Suspense. 12-16)