4.5 stars. Allan Stratton’s The Dogs is a nicely paced and well-written YA thriller, part ghost story, part murder mystery, and part story about coping with an abusive father. Cameron Weaver and his mom are on the run from his father, and their latest move is to a farm house in the middle of nowhere. Cameron begins to see apparitions and hear voices, and finds himself caught up in a decades-old tragedy that is inextricably tied up with his own story.
The level of suspense is just right for a young teen audience, with very creepy twists and turns. One of the aspects of The Dogs that I appreciated the most was how Cameron’s visions blurred the line of reality, leaving the reader uncertain as to whether he was truly seeing what he saw or completely losing his grasp on his sanity.
Characters and reactions are believable. Cameron’s voice is especially well-done, as a teen who is questioning both his own world and his understanding of adult relationships around him in a sometimes petulant and sometimes endearing way.
The plot is nothing particularly ground-breaking for a suspense tale, but uses the elements well. I appreciated that Stratton left me hanging as to whether the supernatural elements were friendly or diabolical in nature. The ending is particularly satisfying as well.
A great little read that I’m very glad I bought on impulse off the Kindle monthly specials.