The Dogs

The Dogs

by Allan Stratton


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Out of the corner of my eye, I catch something moving by the barn.

When I look, it disappears. Wait. There it is again, at the cornfield.

Some movement, some thing.

Mom and I have been on the run for years. Every time he catches up with us, we move to a new place and start over.

But this place is different.

This place is full of secrets. And they won't leave me alone.

"Brilliant, page-turning, and eerie. Had me guessing to the very end." -Joseph Delaney, author of The Last Apprentice series

"It's about ghosts and terrifying danger and going mad all at once. I didn't know what was real and what was imagined until the very last page. I loved it!" -Melvin Burgess, Carnegie Medal and Guardian Prize winning author of Smack

Allan Stratton is an acclaimed internationally published playwright and author. His awards include a Michael L. Printz Honor award, multiple ALA picks, and the Independent Publisher Book Award.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492621010
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 09/02/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 596,648
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: HL550L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


It's ten p.m. Mom's at the living room window staring at the car across the street. She's been there for an hour. Our lights are out so no one can see her.

I'm downstairs in the rec room playing Zombie Attack. No sound. I don't want Mom to know, although I'm pretty sure she guesses. The longer we're quiet in the dark, the creepier it gets.

Mom's imagining things.

But what if she isn't? I focus on the zombies. More silence.

"It's probably nothing," I call up.

"Shh. Keep it down."

"I'm in the basement, Mom. You think someone outside can hear me?"

"Stop it, Cameron. Turn off that game and go to bed."

"Aw, Mom-"


A zombie jumps from behind a tree and rips my head off. Thanks, Mom. Way to help me concentrate. I turn off the game and head up to the living room.

Mom's squeezing her phone. "I'm calling the police."

"Why?" I try to sound normal. "They won't come for hours. By the time they do, whoever's there will be gone."

"It's not ‘whoever.' It's him. I know it." She dials.

"Mom, it's a street. People park there."

"Not in neighborhoods where they don't belong. Not opposite the same house three nights in a row. And they don't stay in their car either. It's only a matter of time before he does something. Hello, police?"

I can't breathe. I go upstairs and brush my teeth while Mom gives her name and address to someone who's apparently deaf. The more they tell her to calm down, the angrier she gets.

Go to bed. Everything's fine.

Mom's room is at the front of the house. I sneak to her window and peek down at the car. It's out of the light, in the shadow of the trees on the other side of the street. Is there really someone inside?

Even if there is, so what? They could be waiting for a friend.

All night?

It's not against the law to sit in a car.

That's not the point.

Stop it. Don't be like her.

The car drives off like it did last night and the night before that. I go to my room and crawl under the covers. Two hours later the cops arrive.

Mom's ballistic. "I called hours ago. We could be dead."

"Sorry, ma'am. It's been a busy night. Did you get the license number?"

"No, I didn't get the license number. He parks in the shadows. You want me to go out and check with him sitting there waiting for me?"

The cops ask more stupid questions. I stick my fingers in my ears and pray for everything to be over.

The cops leave. Mom slams the door. Next thing I know, she's sitting on the side of my bed, holding my hand. "Cameron, honey. We have to go. Get your things."

"Go? What? Now?"

"I don't know how long we've got." She gets up and heads to her room. "He could be anywhere...around the block, who knows. But he'll be back. You can count on it. And the police will be too late."


"There are things you don't understand, Cameron."

Oh yeah? I understand lots, Mom. I understand I'm scared, for starters. But why? Because he's tracked us down? Or because you're crazy?

My clothes are already in a suitcase under my bed; Mom made me pack two days ago, just in case. There's room in the car for our bags, some coats, a box of dishes, some sheets and towels, and the little TV. My grandparents will store the rest of our stuff in their basement. There isn't much, since the places we rent come furnished. I wish we could go to Grandma and Grandpa's. Mom says we can't. She says that's the first place he'd look.

He-him-the guy in the car: Dad.

Mom backs the car onto the street. I look at the house. After a year, I was getting used to the place. This city too. I'd actually started making friends at school. So much for that.

We drive away slowly with the headlights off.

Customer Reviews

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The Dogs 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was by far the top 3 of my favorite books I could not put it down
224perweek More than 1 year ago
Creepy, scary, disturbing................all the right stuff. This was a great story. Some seriously good detective work also. Kind of about abuse with murder thrown in. A must read for those who enjoy a good mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book because it got me from the first page and held my interest till the very end. This book is about Cameron who lives with his mother who is in hiding from an abusive husband/father. All through the book you wonder if the father was abusive to Cameron. Cameron had moved about 3 times before his mother found a perfect house for them somewhere in the midwest. Little did the mother know that Cameron would think that there was a ghost in it. While reading the book I can't say whether I liked the ghost story part, mystery or psych thriller aspect of the book because they are all tied in nicely. This book has a bully, off beat people and your average run of the mill people in it. If you want a fast pace book this is it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A main character who you will like and empathize with. Other characters are well drawn also. Gothic mystery that builds to a good conclusion. Adults and YA will both enjoy this novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved everything about this story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it, if you like mysterys and ghost storirs then you must read this book, it has it all, Brilllant writing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
Yowza, this was one creepy book. I started reading it around 11:00 p.m. and thankfully my new pills kicked in or I would not have been able to go to sleep. Talk about a ghost story. This one definitely had it and the ghost was only seen by a 15 year old kid that had been and was on the run with his mother from his alcoholic, abusive father. So not only did he have that going on, but now he had an abused ghost jacking with him. Of course, no one believed him as he tried to sort out the story he was being told by the ghost. Unfortunately, he got the leader of the most popular gang's great grandma re-involved and that certainly did not give him, as the new boy in town, any brownie points. This was definitely a hair raising, goose pimpling read. While the number of people who start to disbelieve Cameron, the 15 year old boy, start to multiply, ending with his own mother, the reader knows differently. You'll be rooting for this boy and yelling at him, "Don't do it" and "Run" more times than you can count. As you can tell, I really got into this book and highly recommend it! It's good, but change of underwear is not necessarily required. I would like to thank Sourcebooks and Net Galley for allowing me to read this incredibly chilling, spooky and entertaining e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago