Help for the Haunted by John Searles
Sylvie and her sister live far away from everybody else in an abandoned subdivision. Sylvie kind of likes it that way because of the gossip. There was even gossip before their parents were murdered, especially after the book came out about their ghost-busting ways. The stuff they kept in the basement. The exorcisms. The tell-all Help for the Haunted was full of way-too-personal details.
Sylvie isn’t sure what happened that terrible snowy night—the last night her parents were alive. There was the phone call, the rush to the old church at midnight. Sylvie fell asleep in the car, and when she finally went looking for her parents, it was too late.
She keeps going to high school, but since her wild-child older sister Rose isn’t paying much attention to her, she’s living off popsicles and still dressed in shorts in October. Sylvie wonders what happened that night. She misses her parents tremendously and she realizes she really doesn’t know that much about them.
That night, as she was drifting off to sleep in the back of the car and waiting for them to come back, she was sneaking looks at the book that told all. Her parents had made her promise not to read it, and for months after their bloody deaths she set it aside. But strange things have started happening at their house, and Sylvie really misses her mom and dad, and it seems the only way to get close to them again is by reading the forbidden book.
Help for the Haunted is an excellent blend of psychological thriller and ghost story. Its quick pacing, strong characters, and the unexpected revelations of the Mason family’s secrets make for a riveting read.