Liz Currently Loves….Help for the Haunted by John Searles.


Publication Date: Available Now from Sphere.

Source: Publisher Proof Copy.

It begins with a call in the middle of snowy February evening. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation, helping “haunted souls” find peace. And yet, something in Sylvie senses that this call is different than the rest, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town. Once there, her parents disappear, one after the other, behind the church’s red door, leaving Sylvie alone in the car. Not long after, she drifts off to sleep only to wake to the sound of gunfire.

I absolutely adored this beautifully written, haunting and evocative novel about two sisters and their strange childhood and coming of age, growing up in a house with parents who are not by any means normal and whose career lends itself to some strange and sometimes scary goings on…

Exquisitely constructed, the story opens on that fateful night at the old church, then moves backwards and forwards in time telling the tale of Sylvie and Rose as they grow up and slowly but surely revealing the background and events leading up to the time that everything changes. It is truly compelling throughout and highly addictive – as Sylvie struggles to make sense of her life and the lives of those around her you will be enthralled, immersed into their world and barely able to look away. Often horrifying, definitely upon occasion very creepy and yet with an elegance and depth to it that will resonate, this is absolutely one of the best books I have read this year.

Sylvie provides our eyes and ears – she is the “good” daughter, the one who is accepting and who never causes trouble. She has a love/hate relationship with her sister Rose, who is a completely fascinating character, not so willing to forgive or understand and who has her own inner demons to such I found her enthralling and often eminently dislikeable yet more fragile than she cares to admit. Extremely well drawn both, they provide the anchor around which all else flows, in a tale that is at turns enchanting and alarming.

I kind of don’t want to give anything else away. How they cope, what happens, where and why – these are all things to discover as things unfold…at its heart it is  the tale of one family, the author simply allowing his characters to speak, and the reader to draw their own conclusions. An intelligent and very appealing novel, with some surprising twists and turns, a complete tale which lends itself well to allowing the readers imagination to have full flow, I’m very sorry to say goodbye to this one. And without doubt I shall be reading more from this author. Preferably VERY soon.

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Happy Reading Folks!




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