Dog Diaries: Curse of the Mystery Mutt

A Middle School Story


By James Patterson

With Steven Butler

Illustrated by Richard Watson

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There’s a mystery mischief-maker on the loose in Hills Village! Can Junior solve the mystery before disaster strikes?

Junior is loving his life with the Khatchadorian family. But his idyllic life soon turns to terror when a mysterious individual begins to make trouble in the neighborhood. It starts with a mysterious howling in the night. And when Junior’s pooch pals realize their favorite toys are missing, things get serious.

Junior thinks he knows what is happening. He’s heard of a mysterious creature called the Howly Wiener that visits town once a year and fills the street with monsters. With only a few days until the Night of the Howly Wiener, can Junior come up with a plan to protect himself and his pooch pals and stop the mischief for good?



Something terrible is going on, my person-pal! Something so dreadful, it’s enough to curl your tail with terror (if you had one, of course) or turn a Dalmatian’s spots white with fear.

I… I… I can’t figure it out! Just last week, everything was fine and dandy. I was a contented canine, going about my SNIFF-A-RIFFIC days in a happy haze of doggy treats and tummy rubs. But now…

Run, my furless friend! Go hide!

Anywhere! It doesn’t matter… in the laundry pile outside the Rainy Poop Room… under the Food Room table…

behind the garbage cans in the backyard! GO, GO, GO! Take this book with you and find somewhere snuggly and secret, before you turn the page.

Okay… are you safely tucked away? Have you made sure there are no snooping snouts or nosy neighbors listening in? Good!

What I’m about to tell you will make your toes shiver with shock! Brace yourselves.…



Wait a second… you’re supposed to be more shocked than that, my person-pal. Didn’t you understand what I said?

Oh… I know what you’re thinking. You’re reading this, scratching your human head and wondering what on earth I’m talking about, right?

Well, I haven’t told you all the details yet. You won’t believe what’s been happening, my furless friend. It’s awful! A disaster of pooch-apocalypse proportions! It’s…

STOP EVERYTHING!! What am I doing? In all my shock and panic, I completely forgot to introduce myself.

If you’ve read any of my books before… HI! IT’S GREAT TO SMELL YOU AGAIN… but if this is the first time you’ve ever opened one of my LICK-A-LICIOUS diaries, you’ll have no idea who I am, and that’s a TERRIBLE way to start a good story.

Well, there’s only one way to fix that… a proper introduction.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to sniff your butt, my person-pal. That’s how us pooches usually do it, but, just for you, we’ll do it the Peoplish way.

My name is Junior Catch-A-Doggy-Bone. HELLO!

And I live with my pet human and his person-pack in the snuggly-buggliest kennel in the whole of Hills Village. Well… I think it is, anyway, and I’m practically a genius, so I’m certain to be right.

Here they are.…

Ruff is the GREATEST pet human a mangy mutt like me could ask for, and I love him with all my houndy heart. Just the thought of him coming home from school at the end of a long day makes me want to yip-yap and happy-dance for hours, let me tell you!

Ever since Mom-Lady brought me back from the Hills Village Dog Shelter—or as I like to call it… POOCH PRISON!!!—my life has been one great big bundle of BARK-TASTIC BLISS.

Well, it had been until things started going bump in the night… I’d say that’s enough of an introduction for now. It’s about time we got back to the fur-raising story.

Ummm… where was I? Oh, yeah…

It was only three days ago that this vile villain first struck our town, and things haven’t been the same since. I’ll explain.…

Last Friday

9:47 a.m.

I had just arrived at the dog park, pulling Mom-Lady on my leash, and I could already sense that something wasn’t right. I’d barely slept the night before, my person-pal, and if there’s one thing I’m really, really, REALLY good at, it’s sleeping… and eating… but MOSTLY sleeping!

You see, something had kept me awake… something horrifying, and I’m not talking about my archest of enemies who lives in the hallway closet—THE VACUUM CLEANER…

Nope! It was far worse…

I’m talking about an eerie howling in the night that jangled my bones and prickled my whiskers with fear. It was a high-pitched, whiney yowl and it echoed through the streets like something from one of the scary moving pictures I’ve watched with Ruff on the picture box.

Now, normally I love watching those things…

I do love them, honest I do! I only pretend to be afraid so Ruff doesn’t feel… y’know… embarrassed when he gets scared. But I gotta admit to you, my person-pal, the howling that night was far scarier than any mutant monsters or vampire villains.


After I’d reached the dog park with Mom-Lady, peed on the gate and crossed the playing field, I spotted my mutt-mates huddled near the jungle gym and I knew… I just knew they’d heard the horrible howling too, and were every bit as spooked as I was.

It didn’t take long before we were all waggy-tongued and yapping about last night’s strange events.

The only one of us who didn’t hear a thing was Genghis…

He’s normally the most nervous of the pack, but, lucky for him, he missed all of it.

You see, the little guy picked up a pretty impressive case of fleas from his neighbor’s cat, Doris, recently…

The Hills Village veterinarian put Genghis on some MEGA-STRENGTH new flea medication that makes him super-snoozy and he slept right through the howling! I feel kinda jealous!


Not all of us were so fortunate, my furless friend. This is the part that gets scream-a-liciously terrifying! Brace yourself…

Just as we were yapping away, sharing our versions of the strange events… Lola burst into tears. She was a complete muddle of whimpers and whines, I swear! At first we couldn’t get anything out of her except sobs and a few worried woofs, until finally she said…

I think those words will haunt me for the rest of my life, my person-pal. Have you EVER heard anything so awful… so unspeakable… SO CLAW-CURLINGLY PETRIFYING?!?!

Oh, wait… I’m forgetting that you, my furless friend, are a human… and to a person like you, that probably doesn’t sound quite so dreadful. Let me explain…

If you’ve never had the pleasure of having your life poochified by a masterful mutt like me, you may not know how IM-PAW-TANT it is for every dog to have their favorite toy. I’M BEING SERIOUS! Our days would be meaningless without them. It makes no difference how big or small or pampered or mangy or scary or growly or fluffy or dirty or scratchy or jumpy or yappy or happy or grouchy you are… it is one of the oldest rules in the licky-law books that every pooch must have a best-best-BESTEST toy to love and chew and play with when their pet humans aren’t around.

Now, that all might sound a little puppy-ish to you, my person-pal, but it’s true. A mutt’s life is not worth living without the joys of a great toy to cherish.


On Sale
Nov 10, 2020
Hachette Audio

James Patterson

About the Author

James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author, best known for his many enduring fictional characters and series, including Alex Cross, the Women’s Murder Club, Michael Bennett, Maximum Ride, Middle School, I Funny, and Jacky Ha-Ha. Patterson’s writing career is characterized by a single mission: to prove to everyone, from children to adults, that there is no such thing as a person who “doesn’t like to read,” only people who haven’t found the right book. He’s given over a million books to schoolkids and over forty million dollars to support education, and endowed over five thousand college scholarships for teachers. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family.

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