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Help for the Haunted
John Searles

William Morrow
July 15, 2014/ ISBN 9780060779641 (reprint)
Paranormal Mystery / Psychological Thriller

Reviewed by Linda Morelli


Sylvie Mason and her sister, Rose, are daughters of famous parents who help people who are haunted or need spiritual help through prayer. Considered oddities by the small town of Dundalk, Maryland, the Masons are often harassed, primarily due to publicity from a book featuring their exploits and the “haunted” items they store in their basement.

Sylvie, the youngest, is the dutiful daughter, the opposite of the older, self-centered Rose. After an argument Rose has with her parents, she leaves the house, then asks them to meet her at a nearby church. Sylvie hears a loud sound and runs inside the church to discover her murdered parents. Soon another shot sounds and Sylvie awakens in a hospital. Now orphans, Rose is made Sylvie’s guardian, but often neglects her. While Sylvie tries to reconnect with her only other family member - her father’s uncle – she tries to discover who killed her parents, and why.

I expected possessions and hauntings, but was pleased to read an engrossing page-turner and fascinating in depth study of a dysfunctional family whose members, like many of us, keep their true selves hidden behind façade. The story is told with flashbacks to reveal Sylvie’s relationship with her parents and sister, but it’s also a journey that allows Sylvie, like her parents, to help a haunted person find peace.

Help for the Haunted is an amazing, mesmerizing book that reveals a young teen’s emotions and fears through a diary, and the search for the truth behind a murder. Help for the Haunted deals with the paranormal, but more so is a story of the disparities of life that holds families together or rends them apart. It’s also a perfect coming of age story combined with supernatural elements to provide a fascinating and fast paced read.

Reviewed 2014