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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

John Searles’s Help for the Haunted is an unforgettable story of a most unusual family, their deep secrets, their harrowing tragedy, and ultimately, a daughter’s discovery of a dark and unexpected mystery. Sylvie Mason’s parents have an unusual occupation—helping “haunted souls” find peace. After receiving a strange phone call one winter’s night, they leave the house and are later murdered in an old church in a horrifying act of violence. A year later, Sylvie is living in the care of her older sister, who may be to blame for what happened to their parents. Now, the inquisitive teenager pursues the mystery, moving closer to the knowledge of what occurred that night—and to the truth about her family’s past and the secrets that have haunted them for years. Capturing the vivid eeriness of Stephen King’s works with the compelling quirkiness of John Irving’s beloved novels, Help for the Haunted is that rare story that brings to life a richly imagined and wholly original world.…

Help For the Haunted

by John Searles

Overall Book Review:

If I lived in a family of professional exorcists, I am certain I would go crazy. I would, at the least, have lots of mental and emotional issues to work through as I got older. The characters in this story are definitely scarred in many ways, and as a reader, it was easy to assume it was because of their line of work. This may be true, but the relationships that were presented seemed to have flaws of their own, leading me to believe that perhaps the characters were destined for their fate no matter what.

This is a story of searching for lost loved ones and answers to go along with disappearances. But it is also a tale of two sisters who have grown up very independently. They have good heads on their shoulders, despite the fact that their parents seemed to be a little unstable. At times the bravery of the two girls was a bit unbelievable . . . when they are spooked or caught off guard, they just pick up their lives where they left off, almost as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. If I were in their shoes, the things they went through would scar me for life!

All in all, this book is one that will please men and women, and even though it seems as though it was written for the more adult crowd, I’m sure a mature teen could pick up this book and be so caught up in the story that they might just forget to check their smartphone.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  4 religious exclamations; 17 mild obscenities; 2 derogatory names; 3 scatological words; 2 anatomical terms; 2 offensive hand gestures; 7 F-Word derivatives.

Violence/Gore: A family is mentioned to be murdered by a man, some blood and gore are mentioned in a brief story; a character murders two people with a gun, no blood or gore is mentioned; two children trap their caretaker in a room for many hours; a character threatens another character verbally; a girl beats her sister, some blood is mentioned in a brief descriptive scene; one description of a speculation on how people may have been killed; a character is mentioned to kill wild animals; a character runs away from home to escape a hard life; a character injures self and bleeds quite a bit; several brief scary scenes are described.

Sex/Nudity:  A woman is mentioned to “screw” a man; adults kiss; minors kiss; two girls kiss and it is mentioned that they have feelings for each other.

Mature Subject Matter:

Loss of a parent, ghosts, murder, exorcism.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Minors drink; minors smoke; adults drink; adults smoke.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Books and reading have always been an important part of my life. When I was very young, my grandma was the library director at our local public library. Years later, after she had retired, I became a librarian at the same library and worked there for several years before taking a part-time job at a local coffee shop, which gives me more time to do what I love, to read and to review books! A few of my favorite authors are Aimee Bender, Diane Chamberlain, and Curtis Sittenfeld however, I will read almost any book I come across! In my spare time you can find me reading (of course), volunteering at a wildlife animal rehab, or hanging out with my two house rabbits.