“An edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller.”

— The Guardian, UK


Kirkus (starred review)

“An addictive, convincing thriller.”

— Le Figaro Littéraire


A chilling tale from internationally award-winning author Allan Stratton.

Cameron and his mom are being hunted by his dad. In their isolated farmhouse, Cameron sees and hears things that aren’t possible. Soon he’s questioning everything – including his sanity. What’s hiding in the night? Buried in the past? Cameron must uncover the secrets before they tear him apart.

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“Allan Stratton’s psychological thriller does more than entertain, it enlightens. Along with the intricate and truly creepy horror elements, Stratton creates a nuanced exploration of abuse and its long-lasting repercussions. Vivid, realistic characters and dialogue trumpet the author’s other talent as a playwright, even as he blurs the line between what is real and what is imagined.”

— A Quill and Quire Book of the Year

“An edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller… dark, atmospheric and clever… vivid, authentic dialogue and the tightly designed scenes… insightful and affecting…This is an accomplished, gripping and thoughtful story, whose dramatic ending delivers on every level.”

— The Guardian, UK

“Stratton masterfully constructs a creepy gothic setting…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.”

Kirkus Review (starred review)

“What would it be like if the most frightening thing in your world lay at the heart of your own family? Stratton imagines this horror fully and convincingly.”

Quill and Quire (starred review)

“Stratton weaves an intricate tale of love, loyalty, and deception, then blurs the lines between fact and fiction to underscore the mental chaos that Cameron’s unstable upbringing has created. A dark and disturbing narrative of family dysfunction, The Dogs is at its core a coming of age tale that describes the mental anguish of revisiting past abuse. Stratton plays with reader expectations by reappropriating horror clichés and anchoring them in a nuanced plot with multi-dimentional characters. A small town horror with heart, The Dogs pokes relentlessly into the blackest corners of the psyche to reveal the secrets families keep for those they love.”

— National Reading Campaign

“It was 2:30 a.m. when I finished reading The Dogs — a book I couldn’t put down, a real page-turner – and got ready for bed, fully expecting to toss and turn, fending off the nightmares that regularly beset Cameron Weaver, the novel’s young protagonist. But I was lucky. No bad dreams. The book, however, stayed with me for days, author Allan Stratton having created an unsettled aura the likes of which Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King routinely built into their work, too… Secrets abound and it takes some truly tense and psychologically thrilling scenes before the truth comes out… Stratton’s depiction of setting and characters is masterful, and his ability to create tension and keep readers on edge is equally strong”

— The Montreal Gazette

“There’s fear aplenty in Allan Stratton’s The Dogs, and a tantalizingly uncertain element of the supernatural… Refreshingly like an old-fashioned mystery, but the passion and terror underlying (our hero’s) own family give it emotional complexity and suspense.”

— Toronto Star

“One knows Allan Stratton as the author of the remarkable story of the fate of a teenage girl in AIDS ravaged Africa (Chanda’s Secrets). One discovers he is also gifted at playing with reality and illusion in this addictive and convincing thriller.”

— Le Figaro Littéraire

“Stratton has artfully co-opted the thriller genre to subtly examine the far-reaching, unexpected consequences of rage and abuse. The Dogs provides a disturbingly insightful portrait of the darkest elements of human nature. For those inclined to ask difficult questions, it is irresistible..”

— CM Magazine (4/4*)

“From the first page Allan Stratton creates an atmosphere of terror and danger that does not let up till the end. Written in the first person, the novel pulls the reader in so that every fear Cameron feels is theirs, and the threat of violence and death tangible. Cameron is a likeable hero: full of self-doubt and vulnerability he is also determined to solve the mystery that haunts the house, even when his own sanity is in question. This book deserves to be a hit with not just teen readers but also with anyone who enjoys a good ghostly thriller.”

— We Love This Book Magazine (division of The Bookseller), UK

The Dogs is engrossing as a novel of suspense, a ‘cold case’ detective story, and an exploration of the topical themes of bullying and family violence. Both the dedication and the story challenge the ‘bad stepfather’ stereotype and acknowledge the sad fact that some biological fathers are capable of killing their children… Recommended for secondary schools, this novel is memorable.”

— Magpies, Australia

“Cameron’s nightmares, irritable behavior, and his burgeoning friendship with a dead child who used to live on the farm point to either a sensitivity to the supernatural or a descent into mental illness…Readers will get that electric charge.”

— School Library Journal

“A skilfully written psychological thriller with plenty of suspense and chills as a 12 year old boy and his mother flee a violent husband/father – and land right in the arms of a spooky mystery.”

— Michelle Landsberg, CBC radio

The Dogs has you at the edge of your seat and forces you to think about the impact adult behavior has on children, even as it gives true reading pleasure. A worthy read YA, that a lot of adult readers like me will really love.”

— Ouders en Onderwijs (Parents and Education), the Netherlands

“A combination of the fuss-free style and tensely unfolding dual mystery makes this an ideal page-turner for teenage readers who would really prefer it if authors could just get to the point… This is a powerful depiction of domestic violence, and very accessible for young teenagers.”

— Kill Your Darlings, children’s specialist pick, Australia

“An intelligent and readable story, the first person narrative allows us insight into a vulnerable, yet brave and determined boy’s world that middle school students will find engaging with much to identify with.”

— Read Plus, Australia

“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 winner, Junk

“Award-winning Canadian author Allan Stratton’s new book is a haunting supernatural thriller for older readers that will keep them turning pages well into the small hours. Cameron and his mum are on the run from his dad, and they wind up settling in an isolated farmhouse where Cameron starts to see and hear things he knows can’t be happening. Or can they? Pacy, stylish and really very creepy indeed.”

— Dad.info UK, (2015’s Five Best Books To Look Out For)

“Brilliant, page-turbing and eerie. Had me guessing to the very end.”

— Joseph Delaney, The Last Apprentice series

“In this astonishing tale, both harrowing and hopeful, Stratton winds twin tales of abuse and madness.”

— Garry Schmidt, Newbery Honor Book, The Wednesday Wars

“This is a darkly suspenseful thriller blurring the lines between reality and imagination, keeping you guessing and keeping you awake long into the night listening out for the sound of barking.”

— The Scotsman, UK

“There’s packs of intrigue and emotion in this ghostly detective story. A brilliant bark at the moon mystery.”

— Keith Gray, Ostrich Boys

“A great book for readers who enjoy a good ghostly thriller.”

— Canlit for Kids (Highly Recommended)

“This creepy tale has all the elements of a thrilling story. Satisfying and exciting read.”

— Marilyn Brocklehurst, The Bookseller, UK

The Dogs will keep readers nervous and guessing to the very end… A truly eerie and unsettling story.”

— Lovereading, UK

“A book you’ll read and be unlikely to forget. Extremely fast paced, intriguing read.”

— Askews & Holts Library Service

“Gripping… Satisfying and believable.”

— Reading Time, Australia

“The menace and tension are overwhelming. You can’t put this book down.”

— Sneins Petiele, the Netherlands

“An absolute page-turner.”

— 7 Days, the Netherlands

“Stratton takes on big themes in The Dogs. He touches and moves in a book that never lets you go, even after you’re done.”

— Twentsche Courant, the Netherlands

“If you like creepy, dark and exciting, this one’s for you.”

— Jaapleest, the Netherlands

“The excellent writing creates unstoppable suspense. It’s a real page-turner.”

— Tzum, the Netherlands

The Dogs is a creepy thriller that explores the effects of trauma, paranoia, and fear… with the eerie supernatural element, it will keep pages turning well into the night. It is a great book to read on a storm fall night with the wind howling and the branches tapping at your window. A great thriller for MG and older.”

— Young Adult Book Central

“An Agatha Christie mystery novel on cocaine.”

— School Library Journal Teen Newsletter

“I was so immersed in Cameron’s world that I missed my stop on the tube. I can think of no higher recommendation then that to read this book!”

— School Library Association

“Vivid, haunting and heavily atmospheric, Stratton’s book gives young readers a nuanced and compelling psychological thriller… It is a skillful blending of mystery and family drama with just enough of a supernatural component to add an extra layer of complexity and intrigue. With its careful pacing, a highly sympathetic protagonist and a chillingly sinister ambience, this is a book with wide ranging appeal.”

— Canadian Children’s Book News

“A gripping psychological thriller… This thrilling page-turner builds to a dramatic climax which interweaves the personal story Cameron has managed to suppress, as well as the sad, violent story of the McTavish family.”


“The unexpected ending makes this sure to be a favourite with mystery readers.”

— School Library Connection

“This novel derives its horror from Hitchcockian suspense rather than torture and bloodshed, with the steady revelations of the old house’s gruesome mysteries paralleling Cameron’s increasing endangerment. This will be an easy sell to teens on the prowl for a done-in-a-night thriller.”

— Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, US

“Dark and atmospheric… This page-turner will engage reluctant and seasoned readers alike, and will be at the top of many libraries’ “books for boys” lists.”

— Professionally Speaking (Ontario College of Teachers)

“Past and present blend together in this well-written, exciting and eerie tale of violent fathers and neglected boys.”

— DBC, the Danish

Library Association “A book that engages the emotions, with a climax of excitement and pure adrenaline.”

— Repubblica, Italy

“A book that keeps you guessing to the last page. A pageturner you can’t put down.”

— Gazzetta di Mantova, Italy

UK (Andersen Press): Feb. 2015

English Canada (Scholastic): Feb 2015

USA (Sourcebooks): Sept 2015

Germany (DTV): Fall 2016

Quebec (Scholastic, French): Fall 2015

France (Milan): Oct 2015

France, Book Club, France Loisirs

Dutch (Gottmer): Feb 2015

Italy (Mondadori: I Grandi): March 2015

Australia (Penguin): Spring 2015

Denmark (Turbine): Fall 2016

Israel (Keter): Spring 2016

Spain (Circle de Lectores): Spanish book club: Spring 2016

Poland (Grupa Wydawnicza Foksal): Spring 2016

Italy (Mondadori: Oscar junior): February 2017

Romania (Pandora/Trei): Spring 2017

OLA Forest of Trees: Red Maple Award, Winner

Manitoba Young Readers Choice Award, Winner

Snow Willow Award, Winner

Prix des Lecteurs du Man et de la Sarthe (20ème édition), France, Winner

American Library Association, Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers

Carnegie Medal, UK, (nominee)

De Gouden Lijst, the Netherlands (runner-up)

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Summer Reading Choice

Ontario Library Association, Best Bets

A Quill and Quire Best Book 2015

Warwickshire, UK, Year Nine Award finalist

International Thriller Writers: Best Young Adult Novel Thriller Awards, 2016 (nominee)

American Library Association Best Fiction for Young Adults (nominee)

Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Book Award (nominee)

Black-Eyed Susan Book Award (nominee)

IODE Violet Downey Award (nominee)

Sunburst Award (shortlist)