The plot that will remind you of The Conjuring and the life/work of Ed and Lorraine Warren. The plot focuses on Sylvie Mason, a 13 year old with unusual parents. Her parents investigate the supernatural, more specifically "haunted souls", and try to help them. As the book opens, a terrible scene occurs and the rest of the book alternates between the present and past events. There is much more to the story than is on the surface and Sylvie has difficulty piecing together all the facts, understanding her family's strange behavior and the struggles of her rebellious sister. When Sylvie finally realizes the truth behind everything that has transpired, she comes to a stunning and frightening conclusion. The plot dragged for me at times but I still enjoyed reading the novel, given its unusual subject matter.
I ended up with "Help for the Haunted" in my reading list because I was looking for scary books around Halloween. Truth be told, if this book was rated solely for its scare-factor, I think it would get 0 stars. The book is not scary, though it did a good job of keeping me guessing as to whether it really was trying to be scary or not.
What the book is, though, is a fantastic read. HFTH is a coming-of-age/mystery that follows Sylvie Mason as she sets out to discover just what happened to her parents on a cold and snowy February night when they went to a church to pick up their rebel daughter, only to be shot down by a mystery assailant. Sylvie, the only witness to this event, thought she knew who did it, but as the novel unwinds, she finds herself questioning what she saw, and ultimately questioning what she knew of her family as a whole. Not everything was as it seemed, apparently.
Author John Searles does a masterful job of weaving the past with the present as Sylvie slowly uncovers deeply hidden truths about her family. The novel had a bit of a slow-burn feeling to it; the deeper I got into the story, the harder I found to put it down. There were characters who I came to despise, and others who intrigued me, and who I wished we could spend more time with. Ultimately, it was a fascinating and heartbreaking journey of a read. I look forward to future stories from Searles.
If you can't handle horror but don't mind something that raises the hair on the back of your neck a bit, then I would recommend this for you.
The beginning held my interest but it did not measure up to what I expected from reading the synopsis. It is not scary at all and could have been a lot shorter. I was a bit disappointed.
Slowly spools out to its creepy and shocking conclusion. A fabulous read.
Started out promising but failed to really live up to it. The Masons are an echo of Ed and Lorraine Warren, including the possessed doll. Instead of living to old age like the Warrens, the Masons are murdered in a church where the only witness is their youngest daughter, Sylvie.
The book mainly deals with Sylvie's dealing with her parent's death and living under the legal guardianship of her 19 year old sister Rose. In the background there is the the upcoming legal battle but there is also Sylvie trying to sort out exactly what she saw that night and how that works in with her parents' work.
We're meant to take this as a paranormal book and it is in the aspect of the dead parents and a few little moments but really it's a mystery with a dash of thriller. The book goes on and then slows as time for Sylvie begins to run out. The ending you're either going to love or hate - I like the idea that it's representing if not the actual decision.
The book was okay – but not one of my favorites.
Sylvie and Rose Mason are the daughters of paranormal investigators. "Help for the Haunted" is part coming of age story, part contemporary gothic, and the writing style really pulls the reader along.
There's a possessed doll that may be based on Annabelle, a doll owned by Lorraine Warren. Lorraine Warren is an exorcist who was the inspiration for the Amityville Horror and The Conjuring (and has a cameo in the film).
A creepy, dark slice-of-life book that might look like and sound like a horror novel, but isn't.
At times I wasn't fully engaged in this book, but everything comes together at the end and is really good. Worth the read.
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