Author: John Searles
368 pages, Published by William Morrow
Buy The Book: Amazon
Help for the Haunted centers around fourteen-year-old Sylvie Mason. When the book begins, readers learn that Sylvie’s family isn’t exactly what one might call typical. Her parent’s are paranormal investigators. At the beginning of the novel, Sylvie’s parents are killed at a local church where they’ve been confronted by a past client. Sylvie is with her parents on the night of the murder and is a key witness in the investigation of her parents’ death. Sylvie, newly orphaned and assigned to her irresponsible, older sister’s custody, spends the rest of the book attempting to make sense of what happened the night her parents were killed. While searching for clues in her parents’ past in order to figure out who had motive to kill them, Sylvie learns surprising details about the personal lives of her parents.
Help For The Haunted by John Searles has a bit of everything I look for in a scary book. Is there a g-g-g-g-ghost?! Yes. Is there a mystery that needs solving? Yes. Does it have a number of sequences towards the end that make my heart beat a little faster and keep me turning the pages? Yep, cause it’s a thriller! *does Thriller dance* In other words, this book grabbed my attention from the beginning and kept it until the last page. There were a number of twists and turns at the end that I wasn’t expecting, and that’s always refreshing as I have a habit of guessing whodunnit by the end of most mysteries.
I loved Sylvie’s recollections of childhood memories regarding going on ghost hunting trips with her family. Here role as an unintentional observer on those trips and her faded memories she struggled to bring to the surface were haunting and thrilling to read. Searles is very good at not giving too much away too soon. He keeps the story going at a fast pace with lots of red herrings thrown in here and there to keep readers on their toes.
While I was reading I noticed Sylvie’s parents had a bit in common with Ed and Lorraine Warren, the real life paranormal investigators who were the subject of the film The Conjuring. Of course, this book is very different from The Conjuring, because it’s based on fictitious events. The main similarities I noticed were the room full of haunted or possessed items the Masons kept in their house and the creepy haunted doll that was also featured in The Conjuring. I was fascinated when I finished Help For The Haunted and wondered if the Warrens may have been an inspiration for the novel. After a quick Google search I found a guest post John Searles wrote for Book Club Girl about his many inspirations for Help For The Haunted and the Warrens were included on his list. I watched The Conjuring for the first time recently and when I started reading Help For The Haunted days after watching The Conjuring I was thrilled at the small connection between the movie and this book. Help For The Haunted is a very scary, fast paced novel that will keep you up at night. If you have any weird Raggedy Ann dolls or ventriloquist dummies in the house I recommend hiding them before starting Help For The Haunted. It’s the perfect book to read this Halloween.
Also, never forget I was once a ghost hunter.
FTC Disclosure: I purchased Help For The Haunted on my eReader, however I may have received an ARC from the publisher. I’m not positive I have one because there is a serious Grey Gardens situation going on in my library. Also, I make a small commission off Amazon links that appear throughout the site.