Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Review: Help for the Haunted by John Searles

Help for the Haunted
Title: Help for the Haunted
Author: John Searles
Published by: William Morrow imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Released: September 17, 2013
Summary: Sylvie Mason's childhood hasn't exactly been a normal one. Her parents, Rose and Sylvester Mason, are demonologists who specialize in helping haunted people and curing haunted places. Her parents travel the world giving lectures and helping people who believe themselves to be haunted. 
One night Sylvie's parents get a call to meet with someone at an old church. Sylvie goes with them and waits in the backseat of the car. Her parents never come out of that church alive. They were murdered and Sylvie has identified the man she believes killed her parents. Now living with her older sister Rose in their old house, Sylvie is haunted by that crime that took her parents and all the parts of their lives that led up to it. Jumping back and forth in time, Sylvie must solve the mystery of what really happened to her family before it's too late.
My Thoughts: I won this book from the Goodreads FirstReads program and I'm so happy I did. I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. Help for the Haunted is a very different story from the ones I usually read. The action is muted, with the majority of importance being placed on the characters and how they come to be the people that they are. Their motivations, flaws, and the knowledge that we sometimes make people out to be better than they actually are.
I had no idea what was going to happen in this book and being able to witness Sylvie discovering and putting all the puzzle pieces together was just a fun, literary journey to go on.
The whole book had a sort of eerie, creepy feel from the artifact hatchet used to murder a whole family to the terrifying rag doll Penny. I was tensing myself up for scares galore, even though those never really came. This is definitely a great Halloween book, but instead of ghost and goblins, the reader is introduced to the monsters that humans can be.
One thing I really loved was how my perceptions of the characters changed throughout the story. The layers of each person were peeled back and some characters exposed some rotten parts. There are no ultimately good or ultimately bad characters. I also enjoyed the complexities of Rose and Sylvie's relationship as sisters. There was definitely love between them, but their life together was full of problems. Rose was not a good guardian for Sylvie and I wondered if she was even trying to be.
I really enjoyed Help for the Haunted. It was different then anything I've ever really read. The whole story is building up to this climatic ending and it did deliver. If you're looking for a creepy book for Halloween that will keep you reading into the wee hours of the night, then give Help for the Haunted a chance. Such a good book and so glad I was lucky enough to win this. I just might check out another book of John Searles', because Help for the Haunted has left me interested in what his other novels might be like.
A great story with fascinating characters and an intense mystery.
Review also up on goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/641017426


  1. I really wanted to win a copy of this book, I highlighted it today in my To Be Read Tuesday feature. Your review makes me even more excited to read it! Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

    1. I'm glad I did win a copy. I hope you get to read it soon. It's a fantastic story.