Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Help for the Haunted by John Searles

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Title: Help for the Haunted
Author: John Searles
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 368
ISBN: 9780060779634
Publisher: William Morrow
Twitter: @WmMorrowBks, @searlesbooks
Format: Hardcover
Available: September 17, 2013
Rating: 4/5 stars

John Searles' quiet thriller spins out it's web of plausibility slowly and carefully. We are introduced to the daughters of two murdered spiritualists -- a couple who spent years helping those who are haunted or possessed -- through the eyes of the younger daughter trying to keep secrets in and horror out. The perspective in this novel is one of the best uses of point-of-view I've seen in a while -- the reader peels back the pages of this family's history with the same pace and the same occasional confusion as that young woman. We see what might be true and what should be doubted with the clear trust of a child, a teenager, a daughter. The puzzle pieces come together in measured fashion throughout the novel -- until the very end, when the reader is jolted into a sudden understanding of something we might have thought was a throwaway line 200 pages ago. Whether you will take pleasure at the twisting reveal or hum with rage at having your attention tricked toward other distractions depends on what kind of reader you are. Either way, this is a pretty good mystery to take on.

(Guest reviewed by Sarah G.)




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