Sylvie Mason was thirteen in February 1989 when her parents received a phone call late at night. It was nothing unusual for her parents. Some called them demonologists, but they called themselves good Catholics who were helping people. They confirmed the presence of unwanted spirits in people, and drove them out. Many of those calls for help came at night.. But, that night, Sylvie accompanied her parents to a church, staying in the car while first her father, and then her mother, went in. And, when she heard shots, she went in to find her parents murdered.
Help for the Haunted is a beautifully written, complex novel. With Sylvie as narrator, it goes back and forth in time from the present as Sylvie tries to understand her complicated family life, to the past, and the events and secrets that led up to the murders. And, the title has so many meanings. The Masons set out to help the haunted. Both parents were haunted by their childhoods. Their daughters were haunted by their upbringing. And, once her parents were murdered, Sylvie was haunted by the determination to find out the truth, and by the memories of her parents. The truth, and the discoveries of the secrets in their house and their family would haunt Sylvie forever.
John Searles' novel isn't the type of book I normally read. I agreed to read it for a TLC book tour. Sometimes, there's a surprising treasure where you don't expect it. Help for the Haunted is one of this season's treasures. Anyone who appreciates a haunting coming-of-age story will appreciate this discovery.
If I can't tempt you to read Help for the Haunted, perhaps the book trailer and John Searles can tempt you.
John Searles can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/searlesbooks
Help for the Haunted by John Searles. William Morrow. 2013. ISBN 9780060779634 (hardcover), 368p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publicist sent the book so I could participate in the TLC Tour.