Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” —Groucho Marx

Monday, January 13, 2014

Help For the Haunted by John Searles--A Review

Wow it is a bright and sunny day here in the midwest.   Can't help but love the fresh clean air and my dogs are loving it, just sunning themselves.    I however, have sinus congestion going on and feel sort of punk.

I finished reading Help For the Haunted last night.   It was very different from what I expected and a bit different from my usual reading.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

Nearly a year later, we meet Sylvie again struggling with the loss of her parents, and living in the care of her older sister, who may be to blame for what happened the previous winter.

As the story moves back and forth in time, through the years leading up to the crime and the months following, the ever inquisitive and tender-hearted Sylvie pursues the mystery, moving closer to the knowledge of what occurred that night, as she comes to terms with her family's past and uncovers secrets that have haunted them for years.

From My Perspective:

This was a first read from Author, John Searles.   I had no idea what to expext.   However, this book does not disappoint.  It is gripping, suspenseful, filled with horrifying events and episodes as young Sylvie Mason tries her best to discover what went wrong in her family.   Sylvie was a character who wanted to please everyone, her parents, her sister, her counselor, the police detective, and anyone else who entered her life.  I wonder what would have happened if she just once pleased herself?

Searles developed great characters who were strong and believable and very human, including the ever present flaws that we find in one another.  He had great control over the plotline and the book held my attention through out, with me trying to determine who did the crime.   It was a tremendous mystery thriller and I had not determined who the guilty culprit was until he revealed it through the written word.  Now normally, I am pretty astute in solving the crimes in the books, but I think authors are getting better at withholding information that would enable the reader to figure it out.  I like to be stumped right along with the main character.

I'm giving this read a 4 WINK review as the only thing I was confused by was alternating chapters of past memories and current day exchanges.   I wish chapters could be labeled, (past) or (present).    This was a very entertaining and haunting read.

Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.  I did However, purchase a copy of Help for the Haunted for myself.

1 comment:

Marjorie/cenya2 said...

Thanks for the review, sounds like a good one.