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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-06-07 00:38
Do You Believe In Ghosts?
Help for the Haunted - John Searles

This book was a nice follow up after The Demonologist since I started reading it right after I returned the latter. Not saying the characters were based off the Warrens but they were totally based off the Warrens. 

 

In Help for the Haunted, Sylvie Mason, the daughter of renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Sylvester and Rose Mason, is trying to make sense of the world after said parents are murdered in a church. Sylvie herself was almost killed that night, though her memories of the event are lacking. There are so many questions that must be answered, like why did her troubled sister call their parents to the church last night? Did Sylvie really see the father of one of her parents' clients that night or was she just telling the detectives what they wanted to hear? Trying to answer all these questions as well as coming to terms with her own beliefs, Sylvie finds herself facing all sorts of ghosts, both the paranormal and the mental kind. 

 

I really liked this one. It sucked me in and held a grip on me the whole read. It was emotionally difficult to read at times, simply because some of the people and things that happened to the characters was just so awful. Gillian Flynn reviewed this novel for a blurb and I believe that was appropriate. Help for the Haunted is very much in the same vein of Dark Places and Gone Girl. No punches are held when it comes to describing Sylvie's life and it made the book feel eerily realistic. I was so mad when I had to stop reading to get back to work. Fifteen minute breaks are not enough. 

 

For me, my favorite part of the book was Sylvie. I absolutely adored her. She wasn't exactly a reliable narrator, as you come to realize as the story moves along. The fact that she knew what really happened to Abigail (mostly) really surprised me and wasn't something I saw coming. Most of all I just found her endearing. She reminded me a lot of how I was in middle school, since I was concerned about being the "good" daughter too. It made me feel for her. 

 

The other characters were also very realistic, though I didn't always find them endearing. The parents felt a bit like caricatures at times, though they were dimensional. I hated Rose but thought she was a terrific character. It made sense why she was the way she was but that didn't mean I had to like it. I loved Dereck and wished he were in it more but ah well. 

 

There were only a few elements to the book I didn't care for. The non-linear story telling was confusing at first, going back and forth so much. It worked in the end but it made it difficult to get into the story. There were also times where the story became a little slow and I was more interested in my phone than the story. At times the characters were just 

 

I wouldn't really call this one a mystery. I mean, it's classified as one in the library and I think bookstores too, but it's not really mystery. There is A mystery, but the story is more about Sylvie and her question over her beliefs and her relationship with her family. Figuring out who killed the Masons really took a back seat to everything else. That said, the pieces all meshed together in the end and the resolution was satisfying and made sense. 

 

Final rating: 4.5 out of 5. I'd definitely read it again. Great, sad story. 

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text 2015-03-19 05:47
Help for the Haunted - John Searles

I was hoping to get really into this book since the premise is so interesting but it really dragged. It was a bit too slow moving and the ending was just out of left field.

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review 2014-12-28 16:43
Help for the Haunted - John Searles

This book turned up on the office paperback swap shelf and I thought I'd give it a go. It's basically a young-adult novel with some paranormal overtones.

The book begins with 12-year-old Sylvie's parents being murdered in a church. For lack of a better way to put it, her parents are "ghostbusters" who also help possessed people ... and the book focuses on Sylvie as a witness to the murder and which one of her parents' clients did it.

Of course, nothing is quite that easy. And we need to hear about Penny, the creepy rag doll in the basement, quite a lot (shades of the Anabelle legend here), as Sylvie's precious horses are broken, and the doll moves around the house.

Subplots involving Sylvie's troubled teenage sister, Rose, and alcoholic Uncle Howie also keep the story moving.

Nothing is quite as it seems, of course ... and the revelations toward the end of the book did take me by surprise. IMO, it's worth giving this book a try if you like the genre and books for the intended age group.

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review 2014-10-12 16:37
Help for the Haunted
Help for the Haunted - John Searles

Help for the Haunted was nothing like I expected it to be but I really enjoyed it. Narrated by Sylvia, the youngest daughter it is a mixture of trying to come to terms with her parents murder, adapting to her new life with her sister as a guardian and their life growing up with her parents who have a different career to most.
I loved Sylvie, had sympathy for Rose who was very much the black sheep of the family and I'm really glad that I didn't have to spend any time with Penny!
I really had no idea who the murderer was, guessing at nearly everybody featured in the novel.
I would definitely read more by John Searles in the future.

Thanks to the author and the publisher for the copy via NetGalley.

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review 2014-10-05 11:25
Help for the Haunted by John Searles - Review.
Help for the Haunted - John Searles

Publication Date: Available Now from Sphere.

 

Source: Publisher Proof Copy.

 

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.

 

I absolutely adored this beautifully written, haunting and evocative novel about two sisters and their strange childhood and coming of age, growing up in a house with parents who are not by any means normal and whose career lends itself to some strange and sometimes scary goings on...

 

Exquisitely constructed, the story opens on that fateful night at the old church, then moves backwards and forwards in time telling the tale of Sylvie and Rose as they grow up and slowly but surely revealing the background and events leading up to the time that everything changes. It is truly compelling throughout and highly addictive - as Sylvie struggles to make sense of her life and the lives of those around her you will be enthralled, immersed into their world and barely able to look away. Often horrifying, definitely upon occasion very creepy and yet with an elegance and depth to it that will resonate, this is absolutely one of the best books I have read this year.

 

Sylvie provides our eyes and ears - she is the "good" daughter, the one who is accepting and who never causes trouble. She has a love/hate relationship with her sister Rose, who is a completely fascinating character, not so willing to forgive or understand and who has her own inner demons to fight..as such I found her enthralling and often eminently dislikeable yet more fragile than she cares to admit. Extremely well drawn both, they provide the anchor around which all else flows, in a tale that is at turns enchanting and alarming.

 

I kind of don't want to give anything else away. How they cope, what happens, where and why - these are all things to discover as things unfold...at its heart it is  the tale of one family, the author simply allowing his characters to speak, and the reader to draw their own conclusions. An intelligent and very appealing novel, with some surprising twists and turns, a complete tale which lends itself well to allowing the readers imagination to have full flow, I'm very sorry to say goodbye to this one. And without doubt I shall be reading more from this author. Preferably VERY soon.

 

Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/JohnSearlesAuthor

 

Follow the Author on Twitter: https://twitter.com/searlesbooks

 

Purchase Information: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/john+searles/help+for+the+haunted/10125629/

 

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

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