In John Searles’ Help for the Haunted, when we first meet 14-year-old Sylvie Mason, it has been a year since she witnessed the murder of her parents. The story flashes back and forth between the years leading to her parents’ murders and the present day, as Sylvie tries to remember what actually happened that fateful night.
The Masons are an unconventional family. They run their own business of sorts, offering help to haunted souls, which includes answering late night calls for help, providing a room in the basement to those in need, and where all else fails, exorcisms. In most cases they believe that the power of prayer will help people.
After the death of her parents, Sylvie is placed in the custody of her older sister Rose, who her parents felt, despite their best efforts, never had “her head right.” Rose appears oblivious to any of Sylvie’s needs, failing to provide clothing, food and any emotional support. Being the “good daughter,” Sylvie has always done what others wanted. Consequently, when the police asked her to ID the man who murdered her parents, she fingered the prime suspect. However, as the trial looms closer, the arrested man develops an airtight alibi. In order to find the real killer, Sylvie must dig into her family’s past and ask uncomfortable questions.
Sylvie’s journey will keep you on the edge of your seat as the tension builds and she relives stories of Penny, a possessed doll; Abigail, a very disturbed girl; and the Masons’ basement, where her parents worked and now, long after their deaths, lights turn on by themselves and strange noises are heard during the night.