2015: 2. Help For The Haunted

Help for the Haunted, John Searles

"Whenever the phone rang late at night, I lay in my narrow bed and listened."

I found this book in the Bas Bleu catalogue - and then did the shady thing, and took it out of the library.  Mea culpa, Bas Bleu.  But I'm glad I read it - it's a compelling little mystery.  Sylvie Mason is used to being an outcast - after all, her parents are known as ghost hunters - people who will help you get rid of evil spirits.  But when they are murdered, and Sylvie is left in the care of her wild sister, she begins to realize she doesn't know much about her parents - or her past - at all…

This one is all atmosphere - both how hard it is for Sylvie in the after math of the murders, and slowly unfolding, her memories of her parents, and how strange their life was even before the tragedy.  Sylvie has to figure out who they really were before she can understand why they died, and it's all done very skillfully.  The weird dynamic of her religious (yet ghost hunting) parents, her wild sister and Sylvie, just trying to get by best she can is the best part of the book, though the solution is also ultimately satisfying.  I worried this would be one of those books about ghosts that tries to have it's cake and eat it too and have a vague non-ending.  Not to fear - here you get a solution and one that satisfies.  I'll read more Sarles, for sure.

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017