While reading this fantastically creepy, spooky book, I would found myself checking under my bed to make sure my slippers were not haunted, and I would watch my boys stuffed toys to make sure they were not taunting me with their forever pasted-on grins. After an hour or so of reading, I would set the book aside carefully as if it were alive…only to return to it quickly…not wanting to neglect it. I finished it last night with Benny asleep on my stomach…..I had to finish it.
Ghost stories are something I craved as a child and young adult…I was drawn to them…looking for indisputable proof of their existence. Ghosts intrigue both believers and nonbelievers. A flash of light where there was none moments before, a clock that starts working after years of disrepair or a shadow that appears in a photograph where there was nothing….people seek an explanation for these sudden and unusual occurrences. And this is where the supernatural….ghosts enter the picture.
Searles has created a ghost story like nothing I have read before, and I recommend it highly. It is the 1980’s and we meet the Mason Family. Sylvie is the youngest daughter of Rose and Sylvester Mason whose profession is to help the haunted. Her mother has this calmness that helps her bring about peace for these individuals and her father has a “gift” for seeing things that others miss. Sylvie is a quiet, intelligent girl who tried to please her parents and teachers while her older sister has a dark secret and rebels against them. One night, the phone rings and the Mr. and Mrs. Mason are called to a small church in town for a meeting. It is snowing, it is dark and it is cold….they take Sylvie with them and leave her in the car. After a time, Sylvie begins to drift to sleep, but then she hears it. Gunshots….she heads into the church and discovers her parents have been murdered.
The story picks up a few months later with a possible suspect for the murders, and Sylvie is living with her sister who is now her legal guardian. Sylvie has become the only witness to the crime, and yet she has little memory of what she truly saw. She is determined to discover what happened that night in the church and the truth to her parents’ occupation. The reader is taken on a journey throughout the past. Through this journey we learn how the Mason’s have acquired possessed objects that now reside in their basement…especially the old raggedy doll named Penny who has to be kept in a rabbit cage with a sign that tells you not to open under any circumstance. Creepy. We discover how Sylvester and Rose first became “helpers” for the haunted. Sylvie’s journey leads her to answers for questions she didn’t know she had….
This book does not go on sale until September, but if you go to this site and pre-order, you will be entered into a chance to win tickets to see the musical MATILDA.
For more info on John Searles and his books: