Help for the Haunted

( 77 )

Overview

It begins with a call one snowy February night. 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 from the others, 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...

See more details below
Hardcover
$18.72
BN.com price
(Save 30%)$26.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (29) from $4.70   
  • New (18) from $10.95   
  • Used (11) from $4.70   
Help for the Haunted

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$15.99
BN.com price

Overview

It begins with a call one snowy February night. 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 from the others, 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.

As the story weaves back and forth through the years leading up to that night and the months following, the ever-inquisitive Sylvie searches for answers and uncovers secrets that have haunted her family for years.

Capturing the vivid eeriness of Stephen King's works and the quirky tenderness of John Irving's novels, Help for the Haunted is told in the captivating voice of a young heroine who is determined to discover the truth about what happened on that winter night.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Readers of this unsettling coming-of-age story from Searles (Strange but True) may feel the need to whistle past the graveyard by the end. Nothing has been the same for Sylvie Mason since the cold winter’s night when her parents went to a deserted church, not in their self-proclaimed capacity as the saviors of haunted souls, but to meet their runaway older daughter, Rose. Left asleep in the car, Sylvie is awakened by the sound of the gunshots that ended her parents’ lives. Nearly a year later, her grief is still fresh. Schoolmates taunt her, and though Rose has assumed legal responsibility for Sylvie, the older Mason girl fails to properly feed, clothe, or otherwise nurture her younger sister, all the while behaving erratically. Sylvie continues to lie to the police about Rose’s whereabouts that fatal night, even as the trial of a man arrested for the crimes approaches. Her current existence, her parents’ “gifts” and vagabond lifestyle, and strange goings-on in the Masons’ basement unfold in nonlinear fashion, keeping the reader on edge while Sylvie bravely uncovers her family’s many secrets. Agent: Joanna Pulcini, Joanna Pulcini Literary Management. (Sept.)
Chris Bohjalian
“Wonderful...A coming of age tale that is poignant and touching...and will scare the living hell out of you. I loved every page of this novel: I loved the sisters and the story and the page-turning mystery. I just may never go downstairs into my basement again.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Searles expertly manages his cleverly conceived plotline as he alternately withholds and doles out key information in tantalizing fashion... Superlative storytelling.”
Jodi Picoult
“I was completely consumed by Help for the Haunted; I read it in one sitting. I just can’t decide what I loved the most: its perfectly pitched teenage narrator; the ghost story that kept me riveted; the thriller that made me say, Oh, just one more chapter.”
Gillian Flynn
“A dazzling, dark portrait of a troubled family beset by the supernatural. Searles ratchets up the tension with every passing chapter, and delivers authentic and well-earned scares—all written through the lens of a lonely teenager searching for answers. The result is a novel both frightening and beautiful.”
Sara Gruen
“A quickly paced and boldly rendered ghost story, Searles’s dark novel about a young girl haunted by the murder of her parents had me up reading all night. And checking the doors. I found it impossible to put down.”
Robert Goolrick
“This is edge-of-your-seat reading of a very high quality, and, be warned, it is seriously spine-tingling.”
People
“Disturbingly engrossing.”
Khaled Hosseini
“A rich and tense suspense story that serves up plenty of genuine thrills but also moves the reader with elegant insights into the enigma that is Family.”
Miami Herald
“A poignant story of a family, of parents navigating an odd and dangerous career, of daughters shaken by doubt and loss and grief — and the gulf that widens between them all...A compelling mystery.”
New York Newsday
“Involves both classic horror elements (a malevolent rag doll, a stolen diary, a hatchet, a scary basement) and contemporary ones (a prescription for Vicodin). Searles controls the plot with a sure hand and wraps up the situation on Butter Lane in a satisfying and believable way.”
Washington Post
“[Searles] has crafted a strange, spooky world that is absolutely believable. Sweet, precocious, desperate Sylvie is a memorable young striver in the tradition of Scout Finch, and HELP FOR THE HAUNTED is an exceptional piece of storytelling.”
Columbus Dispatch
“Moving and elegantly constructed...both a suspenseful page turner and a provocative look at what it means to be haunted.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“John Searles wrapped a ghost story inside a mystery, and the result is a worthy thriller...HELP FOR THE HAUNTED’s alternating chapters are cleverly split in time to reveal what came before and after a deadly tragedy at the heart of this captivating story.”
Entertainment Weekly
“A masterful genre mash-up that’s part paranormal thriller, part coming-of-age story, part crime fiction, Searles’ eerie novel about a young girl uncovering the mystery of her parents’ murders builds to a stunning and poignant conclusion.”
USA Today
“The family demons are more troubling than the supernatural ones in John Searles’ new novel...Sylvie’s flashbacks and exploration of her mom and dad’s relationship will haunt readers’ hearts after they turn the final page.”
New York Daily News
“[Searles] has a distinct talent for fashioning chilling, thrilling novels.”
Charlotte Observer
“Searles is a top-notch storyteller. He sets a mood of unease that builds up to a sense of dread... It’s hard to stop reading.”
Boston Globe
“The perfect Halloween read for those with a taste for haunted basements, creepy always-smiling dolls, and weirdly dysfunctional families...Searles brings the torture of adolescence, the scourge of notoriety, and the pain of being young and different vividly to the page.”
NPR
“Full of terror, totally compelling, believable, and ghostly chilling...The horror that stocks this page-turner is so adroitly grounded in things ordinary and real that the reader almost suspends disbelief and comes to think that maybe there are malevolent spirits out there.”
Statesman Journal (Oregon)
“Creepy, disturbing and compelling, with well-drawn characters, this is gothic suspense at its finest.”
Chicago Magazine
“[HELP FOR THE HAUNTED] is no simple ghost story...As the story zips back and forth through time, it’s rarely clear what’s real and what’s not, though one thing is for sure: The “literal” bedevilment the Masons cast from other houses is nothing compared to what’s in their own.”
Kirkus Reviews
Searles (Boy Still Missing, 2001, etc.) turns in another coming-of-age tale, about a young female protaganist and centered around a possibly occult murder mystery. Sylvie Mason's parents are--or were--"demonologists." Devoutly Christian, her dad zealously worked the lecture circuit while her mom had the talent to soothe the haunted humans who came to them for help. When they are both murdered in a church on a snowy night, 14-year-old Sylvie is the sole witness but doesn't fully remember what happened. In the custody of Rose, her spiteful, rebellious older sister, Sylvie struggles to reconcile her bleak new life with her slightly less-bleak former life. Then, she was always the "good daughter" despite being bullied by Rose and kept in the dark about her parents' career. Now, nearly a year later, she is ostracized by her peers, and the fate of the murder suspect rests in her unsure hands. Searles successfully jumps back and forth in time to let these stories unfold, sewing clues and strange details along the way, the creepiest being a doll named Penny that may be possessed. Slowly, Sylvie breaks out of her good-girl mold to uncover greater truths about her sister, herself and what happened the night of the killing. But for all the time spent uncovering their history, her parents remain murky set pieces, their paranormal abilities and activities never wholly understood. Other pieces of the narrative veer toward overexplanation, but some moments are deftly eerie, and Searles has a knack for building tension; the "haunted" of the title refers as much to Sylvie and her circumstances as to things otherworldly. A somber, well-paced journey, wrapped in a mystery, that will keep readers guessing until the revealing conclusion.
Library Journal
"No one makes eye contact or talks to me unless it is to taunt me about my parents and the things that happened to them—the thing that almost happened to me too…." Sylvie Mason and her sister, Rose, are left to fend for themselves after a fateful night that claims their parents' lives. A mysterious phone call is all it took to send her parents out in a blizzard, to a church from which they never returned. All that remains are questions, and Sylvie is determined to find out the truth even if it means going down to the scariest, darkest place in her house: the basement. VERDICT Searles (Boy Still Missing; Strange But True), has written a truly creepy, smart psychological thriller that will keep readers turning pages until the very end. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 3/18/13.]—Cynthia Price, Francis Marion Univ. Lib., Florence, SC
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060779634
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/17/2013
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 92,662
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

John Searles is the author of the national bestsellers Help For the Haunted, 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. 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 and can be found on Facebook and also on Twitter @searlesbooks.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 77 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(42)

4 Star

(20)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(5)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 77 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2013

    None

    A great psychological thriller. I couldn't put it down. I didn't have it all figured out at the end which was nice. The story was told through the eyes of a teenage girl but this was not a children's story.

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2013

    Good read, suspenseful!

    Good read, suspenseful!

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    LOVE

    I got an advanced readers copy of this back in July, and I've been waiting since then to write a review! I couldn't put this book down. It had me at the edge of my seat (and bed sometimes) wanting to find out what would happen next.
    Help for the Haunted is one of the best psychological thrillers I've read in a while. I highly reccomend it.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2013

    Not what I was expecting! Better actually. I found if very suspe

    Not what I was expecting! Better actually. I found if very suspenseful. The story is told by a young girl and it is easy to get caught up in her life as she explores the mystery of her parents and their supernatural career. I would recommend it!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 25, 2013

    Just the right amount of creepy - a true page-turner!

    A decade ago I read "BOY STILL MISSING", and "STRANGE BUT TRUE", both authored by John Searles. Both were compelling reads because they combined interesting character studies with masterfully presented, suspenseful storylines. The same is true in "HELP FOR THE HAUNTED", but taken to a higher level. I often felt as though I hung suspended between chapters - thinking about something disturbing that I had just read, as I confronted a new disturbing scene in the next chapter - and that made for an exciting, page-turning, stay-up-till-the-middle-of-the-night adventure. You'll never look at a Raggedy Ann doll the same way, ever, and you just might fall in love with Sylvie.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 12, 2013

    I really liked this book. It is amazing how you wanted the stor

    I really liked this book. It is amazing how you wanted the story to go one way, just for it to go another. Very well written. Can't wait to read more from this author.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 11, 2013

    Loved it!

    Perfect read for October! Strong characters, original story, great writing....what more can you wish for.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2013

    &smile &smile

    *watches*

    2 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2013

    Violet

    Probably legal. I mean hes not blood related and you should date him but take it easy. You dont want to get to serious. Ask on facebook d ask ask. Com and ask answers. com you might get an answer. Try talking to your parentsabout it and see if yiu can contact your senator. He might be able to ear somethigs up. Ill ask my political uncle and reply in the next res.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2013

    Catches your interest

    I like this book. Just started reading it, but it's interesting from the start. Looking forward to the drama and suspense that comes next...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

    A hauntingly engaging read

    I read this book in 5 days (with a full time job)! This book grabbed by by the arm, pulled me in, and I could not put it down. The characters are interesting. The plot is suspensful, seems clear and then throws in a loop or two changing your view of the story. John Searles is a master!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 18, 2013

    Very interesting read

    This wasn't what I expected at all, but still worth the time it took to read it. Whether you believe in ghosts/spirits or not, put this on your reading list.
    I have two criticisms: The narrator jumps back and forth in time frequently in the telling of her story, and it takes a few sentences to realize that she's changed times. Also, the story is a bit wordy, but not too much that I skimmed over parts.
    A good ghost story that may or may not be a ghost story!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The genius of Help For The Haunted is that Searles successfully

    The genius of Help For The Haunted is that Searles successfully combines so many genres. He gives you a heroine to care about and empathize with, some scares and chills along the way, a dysfunctional family with a secret, all the while trying to solve a murder mystery. The solution to the mystery is surprising, and I doubt that many people will have figured it out before the big reveal.
    Sylvie is an intriguing young heroine; she belongs up there with Stephen King’s Carrie, Roald Dahl’s Matilda and even Harper Lee’s Scout Finch. Searles has written such a real, honest, believable character. Her outsider status is one that many readers can identify with.
    All of the characters are richly developed here. Even a minor character, like Dereck, an old high school boyfriend of Rose, is so fully realized and I admit to a little bit of a crush on him. Uncle Howie is an interesting character as well; we don’t really know what the deal is with him. Does he love his brother or despise him?
    With Halloween on the way, this is the perfect time to read Help For The Haunted. If you like a brilliantly written scary book, one with interesting characters and a puzzle of a mystery, pick this one up. Just be sure to leave all the lights on while you read. And lock the basement door.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2014

    Interesting Characters........

    It was a fairly good read. The only thing I would say is that Mr. & Mrs. Mason were to coincidently like the real people Ed & Lorraine Warren. The doll Penny is just like the Annabelle doll that the Warren's keep in there basement, as well as all the other relics both the Mason's & the Warren's similarly had. It just felt like the author took real people, and created a ficticious story about them. Granted the story was mainly about the two daughters, but felt that it just followed to closely with the real people and no acknowledgement was made.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2014

    Meh

    I was expecting it to be better. It wasn't a bad story but I don't know if I would recommend it. There were some interesting revelations about the parents and the sister and the ending was unexpected. I think that's why I was disappointed, I wanted more from the ending.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2014

    Never faer flashsun id here!

    Drags mistfeather back to camp.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2014

    MISTYFEATHER TO HIDDEN POST POST POST

    What do u want from me?!? POST POST POST

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2014

    LEGEND TO HIDDEN post post post

    YOU TOUCH HER AND I WILL CUT YOU AND TORTURE YOU! SHE HAS A BROKEN LEG THATS HEALING AND YOU LAY A SINGLE CELL OF YOUR ORGANISM, AND YOU DIE, YOU UNDERSTAND???

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2014

    Hidden

    Wohhaaa i wont touch her... im trying to find the person that has it out for her...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2014

    ......

    Hi

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 77 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)