Sunday, November 24, 2013

Help for the Haunted

by John Searles
October 28-Nov19, 2013

What a waste of three precious weeks of reading time. I can't remember now what made me want to read this book, but it had to be something significant because this genre is never chosen by me. I'm just not a fan of mystery or suspense. And while I think a book can accomplish way more than a movie can, I found myself thinking that this book will be way scarier if (when) it gets made into a movie.

Since I'm not going to recommend Help for the Haunted to any of my book friends, spoilers will abound in this review. Please keep reading though because I'm telling you it's not worth your time anyway.

The whole time I was reading, I felt as though I stepped into the middle of the conversation. It's not like when chapters leave you hanging in suspense, but more like I wasn't in on the secret, which was incredibly frustrating. I just never found my stride. The gist of this book is that Sylvie and her sister Rose are left orphaned after their parents are murdered. Sylvester and Rose Mason have the unusual, but highly publicized career of helping those who have been haunted in one way or another. Sylvie has been coerced by her evil, cruel sister to give the police a story which leads them away from Rose being the prime suspect, but Sylvie can't help but think that there is another side to the story. From here the book drags and drags, weaving from present to past and throwing in a handful of stories meant to throw the reader off. I found myself bored, but not really giving up because I had to find out who the murderer was. And if I'm being honest, Searles writing style is easy to read. But the creepy stuff and learning more about the Mason's "healing" work didn't seem to accomplish its task ... to scare me, the reader. There's a doll at the crux of the story that had ill-effects on its owner until the Masons came and removed it. The doll then proceeded to bring chaos and sickness to Sylvie's mom, until they locked it away in a rabbit cage in the basement. This is where I think visuals would be more successful.

I could continue to ramble on, but I made my point about the scattered story line. Still, I pressed on, sure that the payoff would be worth it. And then, AND THEN, it turns out the Masons were fakes!!!! No one or nothing was haunted and they healed no one!! Seriously?! The father just drugged people making them believe they were being possessed. All in the name of publicity!! There's even an undercurrent of homophobia and intolerance connected to Rose. What a giant waste of time!!!! If I'm going to pick up a book that promises suspense, mystery and the supernatural, WHY do I want it to turn out to be a hoax after all?? Waste. There's three weeks I will never get back. Lesson learned.

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