Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Jeffrey Salane
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Lucas is ten years old and has a strange lung condition that doctors treat but for which there is no diagnosis. In an effort to help him heal, his parents are moving to a strange house in the woods around Hounds Hollow. They hope that the air will be better for him there than it is in the city. Strange things begin to happen, even before they arrive at the mansion. Weird dreams and vague animal shapes seem to follow Lucas wherever he goes in the woods and around the house, and the weird girl next door, Bess, seems to know more than she's letting on. Lucas, Bess, and another boy, Lens, begin a search for answers. Piece by piece, they unravel the mysteries of Lucas's family, the disappearances, and of a fire that happened long ago. What they find may even help Lucas heal as well.
This is a good mystery with characters that are well developed and easy to enjoy. The suspense is well built and well maintained, but there are some loose threads of story lines that seem to have been lost in the primary focus of the ending. A mysterious pack of ghost dogs is an interesting premise, but the story of the ghost boy seems to have very little connection to the story of the dogs when it comes to the demise of both. The inference that the ghost dogs are keeping the ghost boy from harming the town is underdeveloped and weak. This is a good book, but it is missing a few things that could make it great. All in all, this is an enjoyable read, not too scary and a little creepy, but missing some elements that would strengthen the tale.