Monday, November 11, 2013

Help for the Haunted

What I try to do with reviews at this Bookshelf blog is keep it simple and spoiler-free, and let you know whether I'd recommend you pick up a copy of what I just read. Seems to work okay. This time, a brief review of Help for the Haunted (William Morrow, 2013).

Set in 1989, John Searles' Help for the Haunted takes place in the aftermath of the murder of two celebrity ghost-hunters and demon-busters, a couple modeled not very subtly on our world's Ed and Lorraine Warren. They left behind two teenage daughters, the surly and rebellious Rose and the loyal, heartbroken Sylvie, who believes that she saw the killer.

The book is told from Sylvie's point of view, as she struggles with the police investigation, the custody of her older sister, and the town mocking the celebrity and notoriety of her parents. And there's worse: her father left a lot of unfinished work behind in the cellar. Some things that go bump in the night can't be handled by prayer.

I really enjoyed this novel. Searles did a terrific job keeping me guessing, both about what happened to the Mason family and what's going to be happening to Sylvie in the future. Sorry this review's absurdly short, but it's simply a satisfying and unpredictable read. It plays fairly within its premise and structure and answers a lot more questions than I was expecting. Solidly recommended.

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