by Patricia Crandall

GENRE:  Mystery

Ten-year-old Wyatt and eleven-year-old Hannah uncover the dark world of illegal dog fights when they trespass at a Vermont farm and peep through a barn window. And when crotchety old Lester Cranshaw’s dog, Paddy, turns up missing, there is no holding him back from investigating the situation and the kids join in. In the dead of the night, after the trio are captured and held hostage at the Inglis farm, Wyatt will need all of his wits and courage to escape in order to save the lives of his friends. THE DOG MEN draws the reader into a tempest of animal abuse, lawlessness, and kidnapping within the confines of small-town happenings. A chilling plot and a peerless relationship between kids, adults and pets.

Read an Excerpt:

“What were you talking to my mom about?” Hannah squinted at Wyatt when he fell in step with her. She was standing at the end of the driveway twirling the drawstring on her aqua sweatshirt.

“None of yer business.” He looked up at her. She had him by an inch and it bugged him.

 “What do you mean, it’s none of my business? Were you talking about me? And, here, carry your own net.” She shoved a butterfly net at him. 

Wyatt took it and stuffed it in his backpack pocket.  His gaze wandered across Ozark Street to a field filled with blue and yellow flowers.

“Wyatt, you didn’t answer my question. Hannah cocked her head in his direction. 

“Nah, it wasn’t about you. It was about nothin’, okay?”

Hannah shrugged her skinny shoulders as they strolled two blocks along a sidewalk with grass growing through the cracks. They followed a path at Hobbs Corners and trudged along to the steep banks where town trucks had formerly hauled gravel for road maintenance.

 They raced up and down the slopes with nets, chasing butterflies and stood still to watch hummingbirds draw nectar from flowers. Eventually, they collapsed on the clean-scented grass to devour picnic lunches.

Wyatt gulped his food and still restless, his gaze settled on a low, wide field where a path snaked through the high, thin grass to an island of pine. As he swallowed the last of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich, he stood up, brushed dust off the seat of his pants, and pointed to the island. “Hey, let’s go over to that spot where all the trees are. A path leads through it. Where does it go?”  

Hannah, nibbling at her second triangle of chicken salad sandwich, nodded. "To another field, silly! There are farmlands all over. You know that, Wyatt. Corn'll be growin’ soon...and green beans and pumpkins." She swatted tiny black bugs.

"I don’t mean the fields on the far side. I want to know what’s in the woods." Wyatt clapped his hand over his mouth to war-whoop, and danced Indian style in a circle. 

"Crusader Creek runs through the Inglis orchard. It's got snakes and frogs and creepy things. Ugh," Hannah eyed him suspiciously. "Forget it, Wyatt, it's off limits!"

"I'm tired of this place. Crusader Creek sounds good, 'specially the frogs and snakes. It's probably cooler, too." He wiped sweat off his face with his sleeve. The afternoon sun felt more like hot summer than early spring.

"I'm not interested in frogs, Wyatt. They give you warts." Hannah chomped into an apple.

"You don't have to go near the creek. Just show me where...please? Please?” 

"Oh, all right." Hannah looked at her watch. "There's plenty of time yet." She wadded her soiled napkin and collected her food wrappings, stuffing them in her backpack. “Pick up your garbage. I’m not doing it for you.”

About the Author:

Patricia Crandall is the author of nine books, and a 2023 winner of the Besties of the Capital Region Awards, Author Category.  Her latest book, “Lacey O’Dunn, The Rookie,” is a crime/thriller involving drugs and car bashing senior citizens on icy winter roads. She has also published numerous articles and short stories in various magazines and newspapers. Her book, “The Dog Men,” third edition was also just released. Patricia is a member of Sisters in Crime (Mavens) and National Association of Independent Editors and Writers. She lives with her husband, Art, and a rescue cat, Bette, at Babcock Lake in Grafton Mountains near Petersburgh, New York. She has two children and three grandchildren who live nearby.


Patricia Crandall will award a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner.

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  1. Last month I read Patricia Crandall's book 'A Reunion of Death' and I really enjoyed it.

  2. I am worried about these children.

  3. Seems like a dark book at first, but not so much after reading the excerpt.. hmm.


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