Monday, October 7, 2013

Help for the Haunted by John Searles

Author: John Searles
PublisherWilliam Morrow
Date of publication: September 2013

It begins with a call in the middle of snowy February evening. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation, helping "haunted souls" find peace. And yet, something in Sylvie senses that this call is different than the rest, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town. Once there, her parents disappear, one after the other, behind the church's red door, leaving Sylvie alone in the car. Not long after, she drifts off to sleep only to wake to the sound of gunfire.

Nearly a year later, we meet Sylvie again struggling with the loss of her parents, and living in the care of her older sister, who may be to blame for what happened the previous winter.

Help for the Haunted was nothing like I expected it to be.  From the first page, I was sucked right into the story and it kept me guessing until the end.  The solution to the mystery came out of nowhere and surprised me.  I was totally on the wrong track.  I love when that happens. Thinking back on the book though, I could see how the story was leading up to it.  I was just too engrossed in the story to figure it out.  The book is beautifully written and well thought out with things being revealed at just the right pace.  It's part ghost story and part mystery.  I loved it!

It's kind of a hard book to review because I don't want to give anything away. There are too many surprises that would ruin the ending if I gave a hint of them.  The story toggles between the past and present as Sylvie tries to make sense of what happened the night her parents died.  There are too many questions about that night and if she has fingered the wrong killer, she must make things right.  In her reflections on the past, she discovers things about her parents and sister that are shocking and upsetting.  Every family has secrets and hidden truths.  I was really rooting for Sylvie to find out all of the answers.  

I definitely recommend this book.  It's unique, surprising and definitely will be in my top 10 this year!


About the author:

John Searles is the author of the best-selling novels Boy Still Missing and Strange But True. John appears regularly as a book critic on NBC’s Today Show and has also appeared on CBS’s The Early Show, Live! With Regis & Kelly and CNN to discuss his favorite book selections. His essays have been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Daily Beast and other national publications. He lives in New York City.

Twitter account.

Tour Schedule:
Tuesday, September 17th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, September 18th: Girls Just Reading
Friday, September 20th: A Bookish Way of Life
Monday, September 23rd: Book-alicious Mama
Tuesday, September 24th: Alison’s Book Marks
Wednesday, September 25th: The Well-Read Redhead
Thursday, September 26th: BoundbyWords
Friday, September 27th: Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, September 30th: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, October 1st: A Bookworm’s World
Wednesday, October 2nd: Lesa’s Book Critiques
Wednesday, October 2nd: Book Snob
Thursday, October 3rd: Lectus
Monday, October 7th: From the TBR Pile

1 comment:

trish said...

I love being on the wrong track but be able to look back on a book and see the bread crumbs the author left. It really makes the story that much broader and more meaningful.

Thanks for being on the tour!