Book Review: Help For The Haunted by John Searles

Help For The Haunted CoverBook: Help For The Haunted by John Searles

Published July 2014 by William Morrow Paperbacks|362 paperbacks

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: None

Genre: Adult Fiction- Horror/Suspense/Mystery/Thriller

What It’s About: 

John Searles’s Help for the Haunted is an unforgettable story of a most unusual family, their deep secrets, their harrowing tragedy, and ultimately, a daughter’s discovery of a dark and unexpected mystery.

Sylvie Mason’s parents have an unusual occupation—helping “haunted souls” find peace. After receiving a strange phone call one winter’s night, they leave the house and are later murdered in an old church in a horrifying act of violence.

A year later, Sylvie is living in the care of her older sister, who may be to blame for what happened to their parents. Now, the inquisitive teenager pursues the mystery, moving closer to the knowledge of what occurred that night—and to the truth about her family’s past and the secrets that have haunted them for years.

Capturing the vivid eeriness of Stephen King’s works with the compelling quirkiness of John Irving’s beloved novels, Help for the Haunted is that rare story that brings to life a richly imagined and wholly original world.

What I Thought:

I was really intrigued by Help For The Haunted, but it wasn’t what I expected.  It was okay for me, and it definitely had its creepy moments, but I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.

I think the biggest problem is that even after a couple days after finishing the book, I couldn’t remember much about it.  Other than her sister being sent away to a school to “help” troubled kids (read: her sister was sent away because she’s lesbian) and her dad wanting to keep doing his work even though her mom didn’t want to, not much stands out.  Her sister also doesn’t really seem to care about Sylvie at all, and I can’t help but think that Sylvie would be better off without her.

I vaguely remember the ending, which was boring and didn’t quite fit with the rest of the book.  It wasn’t what I was expecting at all, and while I don’t know what would make for a better ending, I also didn’t care for it, because it seemed so random and out of place.

The book also jumps between past and present and quite frequently, I found myself confused about what was past and was present.  I also wish we saw more of the actual help for the haunted, instead of the aftermath of everything that happened.  I mean, you do sort of see it, but not really.

My Rating: 

2 stars.  It didn’t really capture my attention, and I thought I’d be getting a very different story than what’s described in the summary.

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