Ghost dog, stray or wolf? What lurks down the trail to Dorothy Creek?
With her mother working in Japan, 12-year-old Anita and her younger brother, Jack, must accompany their writer father on a research trip to Alaska to study human/dog relationships for a new book. It looks to be a lonely two weeks until Tee hits it off with Quin, daughter to Dad’s local research assistant. When Tee tells Quin about a spooky encounter she had with…well, something near a dilapidated cabin in the woods, the two decide to investigate to see if it’s the legendary ghost dog or just some stray. When dangerous weather traps them, who (or what) will save them? In Kimmel’s slightly eerie dog tale, the chills are mostly weather-related. Not too surprisingly, there’s also quite a bit of dog lore. Tee’s problems with her absent-minded father and rambunctious brother lend a sturdy realism to the characters and the story; occasional chapters from the point of view of a local dog trainer who was a girl in the late 1960s detail the truth that sparked the ghost dog’s legend. All ends are tied up a bit too neatly, and the sap runs too thickly (and sweetly) at the close; dog lovers likely won’t mind.
Seekers of ghostly shivers should probably look elsewhere. (Adventure. 9-12)