Help for the Haunted by John Searles

Sylvie Mason and her sister Rose live an odd life. Sylvie’s parents are well known demonologists and although they are seen by some as satan lovers and frauds others travel from far and wide to seek their assistance. One day there is a phone call in the middle of the night and Sylvie is whisked away with her parents to a church in town where her sister Rose is waiting, only her sister isn’t really there. Sylvie’s parents are murdered and months later she is no closer to finding out why. All alone she embarks on a journey to find out how her parents became revered by so many, hated by a few and complete strangers to their own daughters.

It’s hard to write about ghosts and hauntings without sounding hokey but Searles does an amazing job bringing a sense of reality to a topic that doesn’t make a lot of sense. It doesn’t seem far fetched to read about a couple who make their livelihood from haunted people and what I loved about this book was that Searles didn’t make the Masons out to be any different then you’re average family. Yes, they believed in ghosts but more importantly they believed in God, happiness and love.

I can’t recall how I came across this book but I am so glad I did. John Searles brings the characters and the setting to life so well that I felt I could recall every nook and cranny within the Mason household. I felt I could recognize Sylvie and Rose walking down the street, Searles was able to make them walk off the page. As someone who grew up firmly believing in all things other worldly it was refreshing to read a book that took a different spin on the topic. One that didn’t side with either the believers or the non believers.

Overall, Help for the Haunted is well written, the story has a great flow to it and the main character although young is mature beyond her years. I found myself lost within the pages, within the house where Sylvie tries to make sense of ghosts, demons, God and the sacrifices you make for family. This novel is hauntingly beautiful.

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