Monday, January 6, 2014

Help for the Haunted: Book Review

Help for the Haunted
By John Searles

Help for the Haunted is the story of Sylvie Mason, and her parents.  In the middle of a cold, blistery night her parents get a phone call. It is not unusual in their occupation of helping" lost souls"( great timing to read this book on account of the wintry weather we have in SC).

This night they take their daughter late at night with them to meet someone at a church in a desolate location in town.  First her father gets out of the car. Minutes pass, then more minutes. Then her mother tells her to stay in the car for her. Then again the same thing happens.  Her mother doesn't come back.  Sylvie gets out of the car and goes into the church. She hears a gunshot, and finds them murdered. Then we fast forward a year later. Sylvie is now in the care of her sister, Rose.  Is she who she seems to be? Could she have killed her parents? You will just have to pick up the book to find out.

We learn about the family dynamics, what a strange family this is. There is Rose, the rebellious and devious daughter. Then Sylvie, is the obedient daughter that does no wrong. The parents are a lot to be desired. Her mother believes in the cause of lost souls.  But, the father is not what he seems to be as you will find out at the end.  Then you have her Uncle that doesn't seem like a bad person. But, the parents, especially the father thinks so.  He paints a bad picture for his children. Did he kill the parents, or Mr. Lynch the father with the daughter, with the "lost soul". You have twists and turns that make the story a wonderful thrill ride.

The Help for the Haunted is a coming of age story,  mystery, suspense, and a bit of gothic rolled into one.  I enjoyed reading about the lost souls, and the business the parents were in. I felt sorry for the daughters in what kind of family they had.  The father manipulated the lost souls for his notoriety and monetary gain. Not a person I liked at all.

I have been reading mystery suspense novels over my school vacation. Help for the Haunted is not the exception.  It was a interesting read.  For some reason I could not connect with the characters until the end of the book.  I pick books that are different, from a different theme that I don't know anything about.  For this book, this is a novel about " haunted souls". First I thought, the haunted souls were people searching for their loved one's that had died. Than it turned out it was something different. You realize there is not a definitive line who is the person that needs to be saved.

 Is it the person that is searching for their dead family member? or is it someone that has emotional problems?    Most parents know sometimes it is hard to reach our adolescent child. Sometimes, it is  someone that is not intimately involved with a young teenager? Sometimes it can be a stranger.
The only problem I had with the story. That made is unbelievable to me. Why would the authorities allow her to care for her sister?  I assumed she was still a teenager, or very young adult. With her problems, could she really care for her sister? I would think she would be a very good care giver.  That is just my take of unbelievable. Other than that I forgave the author, and continued on  reading. Took it for face value the rest of the story.

I would like to thank Harper Collins for allowing me to review Help for the Haunted. You can visit John at his website here.

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