Title: Help for the Haunted
Author: John Searles
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Paperback Release Date: June 15, 2014
Acquired Via: TLC Book Tours
A Boston Globe Best Crime Novel of the Year
An Entertainment Weekly Top Ten “Must List”
Winner of the American Library Association’s Alex Award
Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist starred reviews
Sylvie Mason’s parents have an unusual occupation: helping “haunted souls” find peace. After receiving a phone call late one snowy night, they are lured to an old church on the outskirts of town, where Sylvie falls asleep in the car and is awoken by the sound of gunshots.
Orphaned on that night, Sylvie comes under the care of her reckless, distant older sister, still living in the rambling Tudor house that guards the relics of her parents’ past. As she pursues the mystery of their deaths, Sylvie’s story weaves back and forth between the time leading up to the murders and the months following, uncovering the truth of what happened that night—and the secrets that have haunted her family for years.
I don't remember signing up for the blog tour for Help for the Haunted. I mean, the book arrived at my house, and the tour date was on my calendar, but I don't have the slightest idea when it happened. I could go through my email and find out from the tour organizer, but that requires effort. Yet, despite my enormous brain fart and my subconscious somehow coming forward to put me on a tour, reading Help for the Haunted was one of the better decisions that I've ever made.
I don't read a lot of adult mysteries and/or suspense novels, so Help for the Haunted was a little out of my element. They tend to put me on edge because I hate not knowing everything going on when it goes on. Then when everything is revealed, I'm either disappointed that I was able to figure it out well ahead of time or pissed off that I didn't see it coming. And Heaven forbid something is thrown at me out of left field. Help for the Haunted did come a little out of left field, but I'm rusty on the genre, so mystery readers may get it a little more than me.
Don't take that to mean that I didn't like the book; in fact, I liked the main character a lot. Sylvie is a teenage girl who has been through hell and back with her parents dying and being placed under the guardianship of her black sheep older sister, Rose. However, she remains loyal to her father's wishes for privacy around his work and their home (be it for good or bad), and she handles the bullying at school really well. I think she is someone that teen readers could really relate to. Crossover potential, mayhaps?
As I said before, I don't read a lot of the genre, but I'm even more open to reading more after Help for the Haunted. I completely understand why some people read only mysteries because there is a certain pleasure that can be gained by the nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat experience. I don't want to spoil any plot points because the book is twisty, but I do want to say that it was well worth the chance I gave it. Mystery fans will love this book, and I can almost guarantee that other readers will enjoy it, too.
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About the Author
John Searles is the author of the national bestsellers Boy Still Missing and Strange but True. He frequently appears as a book critic on NBC’s Today show and CBS’s The Early Show. He is the Editor-at-Large of Cosmopolitan. His essays have been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other national newspapers and magazines. He lives in New York City.
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Follow the Tour
Help for the Haunted Tour Schedule
Tuesday, July 15th
Books in the City
Thursday, July 17th
Monday, July 21st
Tuesday, July 22nd
Sara’s Organized Chaos
Wednesday, July 23rd
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Monday, July 28th
Tuesday, July 29th
Books in the Burbs
Wednesday, July 30th
Friday, August 1st
Sweet Southern Home
Wednesday, August 6th
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a copy of the novel from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and completely my own.