Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Haunted Minds #2

Clara's Song

Rate this book
Be careful what you wish for.

Clara Bayliss dreams of escaping her boring marriage. When her car fails to start after a freakish accident, her fantasy has every chance of becoming the reality.

Rescued by the very man she thought had been killed, she takes a ride into the unknown with him, and has no intention of returning home.

Her husband isn’t pleased about being dumped. Especially when he finds out the news she’s been keeping from him.

And then, there’s a song, the one that Clara would play whenever she needed freeing from a world full of despair.

Clara’s Song.
It would make her feel good. Strong. Independent. Fearless.

Only…her rescuer knows the song too, and for him, it means something else entirely…

A dark, psychotic mystery thriller, full of suspense, lost dreams and total paranoia from which there is no escape. A place where marriage really can be murder....

Mature Rating 18+. For adults only.

315 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2015

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

John Hennessy

34 books232 followers
John Hennessy is the British author of paranormal fantasy horror for YA, psychological horror and murder mysteries, plus his own unique take on vampire lore. He has also written ghost stories and delved into high epic fantasy with a hint of romance.

BOOKBUB: Follow the author for Featured Deals and New Releases here


John is an international best selling author. The Ghost of Normandy Road reached Number One for British Horror Fiction in July 2020 on Amazon.com, Children of the Dark Light also topped the charts for the same category in August 2020.

His 2015 YA Horror novel, The Ghost of Normandy Road: Haunted Minds I won the Silver Award for its category at the 2016 Readers Favourite International Book Contest.

His 2018 Non-fiction work, The Mastery of Martial Arts: End Fights in Seconds, had a featured review in the prestigious and highly respected Wing Chun Illustrated magazine (Issue 53 April 2020 edition)

A TALE OF VAMPIRES: SERIES - for anyone new to the author's series, this is the sugested reading order:-

Prequel: Dawn of the New Breed
I: Murderous Little Darlings
Murderous Little Christmas Darlings (2022)
II: The Blood and the Raven (Free to subscribers)
III: Innocent While She Sleeps
IV: Dream the Crow's Black Dream
V: Reunion of the Blood
VI: Our Hearts Go to Their Graves

To get an email, freebies, giveaways and chapter extras whenever the author releases a new title, sign up for the VIP newsletter

at the official website:-

at the blog https://authorjohnhennessy.wordpress....

Five Star Seal Awarded to The Ghost of Normandy Road by Readers' Favourite

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
11 (47%)
4 stars
6 (26%)
3 stars
3 (13%)
2 stars
1 (4%)
1 star
2 (8%)
Displaying 1 - 15 of 15 reviews
Profile Image for Aditi.
920 reviews1,333 followers
July 24, 2015
“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”

----Friedrich Nietzsche

John Hennessy (my friend), an English writer, pens a bone-chilling as well as inspiring and quite thrilling tale about marriage, Clara's Song that is the second book in the Haunted Minds series. Now as the title of the series says, Haunted Minds, the book in the series actually keeps haunting our minds not only while reading but also long after we have finished reading the book.


Be careful what you wish for.

Clara Bayliss dreams of escaping her boring marriage. When her car fails to start after a freakish accident, her fantasy has every chance of becoming the reality.

Rescued by the very man she thought had been killed, she takes a ride into the unknown with him, and has no intention of returning home.

Her husband isn’t pleased about being dumped. Especially when he finds out the news she’s been keeping from him.

And then, there’s a song, the one that Clara would play whenever she needed freeing from a world full of despair.

Clara’s Song.
It would make her feel good. Strong. Independent. Fearless.

Only…her rescuer knows the song too, and for him, it means something else entirely…

A dark, psychotic mystery thriller, full of suspense, lost dreams and total paranoia from which there is no escape. A place where marriage really can be murder....

The author have written 9 books till date- all belonging to YA Fantasy-Paranormal/Horror genre and I can't argue that he is a genius when it comes to ghosts, vampires, witches, aliens and all those things which are spooky. It's like he can turn light into something dark and sinister with the wave of his magic wand- which are his words! Clara's Song is the only book which stands out from the rest, genre-wise, as this book is under psychological thriller genre but not specifically since as we delved deeper into the story, it became clear that the author didn't want his story to be an emotional ride with revelations and enlightenment, rather he layered his story with evil, darkness and violence (which might be too much for the weak hearts!!) thus producing a horrific as well as stirring story about an English married couple.

Peter Bayliss is a hardworking middle-aged married man who has went so deep into the crisis of his mid-life period that he forgot to take a clear look or rather say forgot how to love his beautiful and dreamy wife, Clara who has dreams of her own where she and her husband Peter having a successful marriage, unfortunately Peter's boredom forced her into the same track, but she never stopped wanting for a little bit of more happiness in her already dull marital life. Amy is Clara's friend who have been living with the Bayliss' at their home after her divorce, but she had some other intentions to live under the same roof with Peter and Clara.

From the above synopsis, we get a crystal clear picture of the storyline, unfortunately there's more to it and for that we must read this book. And I won't say anything more what happens next when Clara meets the man of her dream after dumping her husband!! Creepy road to happiness and finally turning it into Clara's personal hell.

The writing style is undoubtedly the best and polished and the pacing is really fast with lots of mystery as well as suspense hiding at every turn of the page, that are bound to throw us off our edges. The narratives is kept mysterious and engaging and with vivid descriptions of each and every scenes, it gets a little too difficult to visualize them. The author has an eye for detail that is keen and neatly depicted into the storyline, thus making the story more richer and deeper.

The characters are all drawn by bringing out their strong and dark as well as the raw honest side in the story. Moreover, each character comes with a thorough back story that lets us comprehend with their wishes and their demeanor towards one another. Clara is a bored housewife, who is trying to find bliss for which she is ready to go at any lengths. Her childhood as well as how she met her husband Peter are strikingly portrayed. Clara thinks less and jumps into conclusion, so I did not feel any sympathy towards her character, moreover, I did not like her selfish attitude.

Peter is trying hard to earn a decent living and in that process he has forgot to show any kind of affection towards his wife. And Peter is the one who shows that marriage not only takes a toll on two lonely human beings but it also demands hard work from each of the better half to keep it in working condition.

The villain and the evil characters are John's trademark style that is mixed with lots of danger and sinister demeanor with a twisted mind that can go at any lengths to harm an individual and I do not why I always happen to fall in love with John's evil characters, maybe because of their electrifying aura that overshadows the presence of any kind of light so dangerously that at times it feels beautiful.

The theme of the book is magnificent and the way the author tries to send us a message through this story is amazing. Marriage turns out to be fatal for two individuals where one is so lost with the pieces of the LEGO toys that he has no idea what to build with those pieces, and the other is so adamant in finding happiness and taking revenge that she tries to build her own LEGO home without her husband. There are lost of twists and turns and every turn of event kept me engrossed till the very end.

PS: Now I'm scared to get married!!!

Verdict: Must read for all psycho horror lovers.

Courtesy: Thanks John for the special preview version of this book.
Profile Image for Kimberly.
1,698 reviews2 followers
February 28, 2018
4.5 stars!

CLARA'S SONG, by John Hennessy, is Book #2 in his Haunted Minds series, but it really stands apart from books 1 and 3 in terms of content and "supernatural element". This story is much more "psychologically driven" than Normandy Road, and deals with matters of a much more mature nature. Despite--or perhaps, because of--this, CLARA'S SONGis integral to the series. The subtle intricacies here are what actually link it to each of the other titles in the Haunted Minds series. I felt that this book was essential in showcasing the fact that the events around Normandy Road weren't just impacting the children. This is a type of haunting that knows no bounds in terms of age or gender.

The story consists of various POV changes, in which we view parts of the novel--not always in sequence--that may be true, or may be entirely in the character's mind. That distinction is left for the readers to ultimately decide. Aside from the main storyline--of what amounts to the breaking down of Peter and Clara's marriage--there is a lot of room for speculation as to the emotional "imaginings", and the actual events occurring.

"What happens when normality and routine is no longer acceptable? It's true that any long-term relationship will suffer from becoming routine. . ."

Yes, Peter and Clara had grown "bored" with their relationship in its routine, but there were many additional things that popped up to make matters different, if not entirely worse or better. Clara's best friend, Amy, moving in with them, is one. In that case, Peter, ". . . knew which one of the seven dwarves he would have been, and it was not Happy."

While it seemed that Peter was still very much in love with Clara, it was difficult for me to determine how much Clara still loved him, or if she just wanted to continue the monotony of her life because it was simply her usual pattern. In a sense, she found herself stuck in a situation that she was no longer happy with, yet she lacked the initiative to actively "change" that.

"We kill a little of each other every single day. That loss of individuality eventually fights back . . ."

The story itself went into depths that I was not expecting, making it much more of a journey--especially mentally--and something that I had to put myself into in order to fully appreciate the drama unfolding.

". . . Insanity is the only real escape from the banality of our lives."

A type of "love" story unlike most others, CLARA'S SONG is a great addition to the "Haunted Minds" series.

Profile Image for Rachel Maniacup.
153 reviews79 followers
May 31, 2018
First of all, l want to thank my dear friend John, for mailing me another one of his books (2nd book l received from this very awesome author), the second book of his HAUNTED MINDS series. But this book is not actually a sequel to the first book because it was created to be read completely on it's own. And this is what l loved about most on John Hennessy's work of art.

Clara's Song is a dark, psychotic mystery thriller that would intrigue you from the beginning until the end of the story.

This is a story of Clara Bayliss, a gorgeous, tall woman with brown eyes and honey blonde hair who dreams of escaping her boring marriage. She is married to Peter Bayliss, who l think is just a typical man but tries his best to make those around him happy, especially his wife.

Clara still cares for her husband, but knows that their best times were probably behind them, and wishes for something more or something better..She's been married to Peter for 8 years and she just couldn't stand all the arguments they've been having.

Clara is fond of Elvis Presley and his songs, and it's the only thing that sooths her mood and mind when she feels lonely..One day, she took a ride away from Peter and has no intention of returning home..And this is where the real suspense starts, that you have to find out so start reading!

For me, this book in the Haunted Mind series is
what l love most..not because it is psychotic, brutal or scary, but it teaches all of us a great lesson, particularly the married ones because they were bonded by their love and sacred vows that no one or nothing should destroy.

The only thing that got me confused a bit was the narration, perhaps due to the bouncing around between the past and present events, or from the reality or hallucination..Well, maybe it's part of the author's creativity to justify the concept of the "Haunted Minds":)👍

Once again, thank you so much for giving me all the opportunities to read your amazing books! And because your birthday's just around the corner, l want to be the first one to greet you! Advance Happy Birthday John!😊🎂

Profile Image for John Hennessy.
Author 34 books232 followers
September 22, 2022
On a dark summer's night in July 2015 Clara's Song, my first adult-themed novel, will be released. It explores the relationship between a man and a woman who appear to be in the death throes of their relationship.

It takes a scalpel-like approach to what lengths someone will go to, in order to get the kind of love they desire in their lives, regardless of the cost.

It's a dark romance, a suspense thriller, and a psychological horror story. And I loved writing every bit of it. I hope you will too.

Profile Image for Merril Anil.
806 reviews72 followers
August 6, 2015
Trust John to make romance so horrifying

Huge thanks to the author, John Hennessy, for providing me with a copy of the book and a continent sized no scratch that a globe sized thank you for that little dedication page that proves how awesome you are John (oh yeah, I am on a first name basis with the author ;))

You should know about me that I am a huge fan of John Hennessey both in size and metaphorically speaking. So when it comes to reviewing his books, I am already drafting it in partiality so let that be a disclaimer from my side but in spite of all that, somehow this is not the best John Hennessy book for me.

John has a very unique way with horror and no matter what he writes that flavor of horror remains so stark and bold. I wonder what his diary entries or grocery list would read like even scarier would be to see how he would write a romantic letter because Clara's song is technically a romance but with so much spook factor I forgot about the romance part right after the first chapter.

To be fair, John had warned me that this book was completely different to his usual way of storytelling and writing and yes Clara’s song is entirely different from anything I have read from John's work or any author’s work for that matter

John is going to hate me after this review so preparing myself for the wrath let me begin with the review of the book

To begin with you got to love the theme of the book. To me it had a brilliant core, revolving around the extra fight that is required to keep a marriage together and very many points he says in passing actually makes sense and hits the right chords but then that is also the problem sometimes. John tends to rotate around that one thought of "dead- end marriage" a lot. This very thought keeps repeating throughout the book. The book starts up slow and completely messes up your mind. By the middle you are being tossed ruthlessly that you do not get out without bruises which is exactly my problem because I am failing to understand whether it was a good thing or bad thing for the book

Maybe its me. Maybe it’s the book that is making me confused. I don’t know what to say about this book exactly

One thing is for sure
for a book with the name haunted minds, it definitely justifies.
You never know what is happening is real or just hallucination. The book is a psychological warfare. It is crazy in there. Once you get inside the book, it is like doing a tour of a psychiatric ward not knowing what is sane or what is insane This book is not for everybody as it is a bit harsh, melancholic and truly haunted. So in that case, the author had to be applauded for toying with you.

There is a dragging pace to the book in the middle and you certainly have no clue as to what is happening. All these characters simply torture your souls. The story takes its sweet time to register but as true to his style John Hennessy does a completely 360 towards the end

I may not have been very clear as to how exactly the book went for me and that’s because I am clueless myself but I cannot deny the uniqueness of the book

This book will be perfect for those who love to read about twisted souls because the book is filled with that. (I am sorry John but I have to say this) the narration was kind of haywire but to be honest I don’t know whether it was the requirement of the script and situation as sometimes things made sense while sometimes it didn’t. It was a tough read for me but maybe I wasn’t the right kind of the audience.

December 9, 2015
I really should have read the books in order, but of the two books I read so far (Girl Who Collected butterflies, and this one) it doesn't matter. Both leave doors open to truly haunt your mind. This is a psych horror that is scare because of how seemingly normal people can lose their mind and even scarier than that, their sense of reality. Have only read a few books like this before. But I loved it, absolutely loved it.
Profile Image for J. Kahele.
Author 14 books441 followers
September 26, 2015
What the hell did I just read?

confused photo: Confused tumblr_lnfdzz2udn1qbq71s.gif

I don’t know whether to feel sad, happy, inspired or freaked out. This was a story that took my mind into a complete abyss.

happy and sad photo: happycry2_zps70dc1a10.gif


damn photo: DAMN 336.gif

This was the best book I ever read!


Clara Bayliss dreams of escaping her boring marriage. When her car fails to start after a freakish accident, her fantasy has every chance of becoming the reality.

Rescued by the very man she thought had been killed, she takes a ride into the unknown with him, and has no intention of returning home.

Her husband isn’t pleased about being dumped. Especially when he finds out the news she’s been keeping from him.

And then, there’s a song, the one that Clara would play whenever she needed freeing from a world full of despair.

Clara’s Song.

It would make her feel good. Strong. Independent. Fearless.

Only…her rescuer knows the song too, and for him, it means something else entirely…

A dark romance, psychotic thriller, full of mystery, suspense, lost dreams and total paranoia from which there is no escape.

The story begins in what seems like a mental hospital. Peter Bayliss is being tended to by a doctor and it’s when we realize, he is being evaluated, to see if he had murdered his wife. Peter is closed mouthed the whole stay in the hospital, only claiming his innocence to his wifes murder. Eventually, the doctor is convinced that Peter is not guilty and releases him.

Peter is known to frequent a pub that is owned by a man Sloane. He has drunken quite a few and Sloane tells him after giving him one more shot, that this the last and send him on his way.
The barmaid asks Sloane if Peter really killed his wife and…

Then the real story starts.

The characters of this story were crafted from pure genius, each one woven with a dark side. But I am proud that John has delved into romance a bit, even if it was a little twisted.
Profile Image for Donna O'neill.
12 reviews
July 25, 2015
My mom would tell me that if I couldnt figure something out that I should sleep on it. It's been a day since I finished reading Clara's Song and I think this book is a bit deep for my simple mind, but here are my thoughts about it.

In a nutshell, Clara's Song is about the unfulfilled lives of three key characters, with Clara not happy with her marriage, seeking something more meaningful for her life, even if that means risking what she has already got.

Peter is her husband, would do anything for her, but can't deny he is fed up with his life too, and feels damned if he does, or doesn't.

Amy is the domino that knocks all others over in her quest. Reading it back, I think she was more concerned about escaping a past than building a future.

There's two other characters you have to pay attention to. Their appearances are so subtle and cleverly inserted, it was literally making me think 'hey I know what happened-and then I think I just convinced myself I knew.' This is a clever book and yet has some real jarring unsettling scenes that scared me. He even made going up a flight of stairs a challenge for me.

So clearly all three people suffered a "haunted mind" and at times the reader is transported into their head, so they can see only one possible end to their story.

At first, it might just seem that everything is left open ended, but I saw a real clear start and end. The middle is like a fabulous dessert - you know its bad for you, you know there will be a strange after effect, but I know it's worth it for me.

Clara's Song is a brilliantly structured story with layers that may take some time to unravel. The real mystery is how the jack daniels did the author put this considerable work together. I've read some of his other stories, but this is something else. More adult books please John!
November 2, 2015
I have read four books by this author so far, and Clara’s Song is my favorite one. But it is certainly not for everyone -- it’s only for those of us who are willing to see more sinister aspects of human nature.

This dark story about a woman’s escape from an unhappy marriage is truly thought provoking since it can be understood in many different ways. Let me share just my own interpretation in this review.

Clara is bored with her husband, but the excitement she finally finds elsewhere comes with a high price.

What makes this book controversial is the author’s courage to show his characters’ twisted feelings and desires without passing his own judgement, which would only rob the story of its authenticity and power. He lets us come to our own conclusions. The lines between fantasy and reality, pain and pleasure and even right and wrong are blurred by the author’s enchanting way of storytelling.

Clara’s Song is a song by Elvis Presley, but the whole book seems to flow like a beautiful and melancholic song as well: it is charming in spite of (or maybe because of) its’ sad tune and apparent absence of logic. The raw emotions and primal instincts of its characters may charm us, but they may also appall more sensitive readers who are not ready to confront their own shadows.

All the characters in this book are somewhat twisted, but they are very realistic at the same time. Their strange characteristics are supported by relevant mentions of their past and therefore appear to be believable.

To me the whole book is a hyperbole of certain universally human problems. Many of us may feel stuck in our long-term decent relationships and seek a way out, but few of us openly admit that we are just bored and perhaps jaded. Many women have dark sexual fantasies similar to those of Clara, but few of us would want to act them out with a stranger. Many of us may prefer to read Clara’s Song, but not even that applies to everyone, as I have already said.

This book deserves 6 stars: 5 stars for a great read and an extra star as a badge for the author’s courage. Not many writers dare to write about such things.
Profile Image for Lacey Lane.
Author 12 books2 followers
September 16, 2015
I have previously read John Hennessy's vampire books and I love them. I thought I would give his Haunted Minds series a read and John doesn't disappoint. Clara's Song is completely different to his "A Tale of Vampires" series. But guess what ... Clara's Song rocks.
Clara's Song is is dark and intriguing and it certainly messes with your head. But all in a good way. It really makes you think.
I love how John has created the little fantasy worlds for his characters and made them seem so real.
And the ending? Wow, it was awesome.
The book is well written and his characters are well developed. I will certainly​ be reading more books by John Hennessy.
9 reviews
March 16, 2016
A very dark and psychologically disturbing book about relationships, missed opportunities and dreams. Has many layers to it that I discovered after two readings of the book. I loved the twists and turns and though the adult nature of the violence and sexual scenes may upset some, I think it will attract more readers than it will repel. A brave book with an engaging storyline and characters to match.
Profile Image for Debra.
340 reviews
March 14, 2022
John Hennessy does it again with a psychological thriller unlike any other with so many twists and turns that the reader may begin to question his or her sanity. As expected in pure Hennessy style that just when the reader thinks they have it figured out........boom there is another twist thrown at you.

All is revealed but definitely not as it seemed in the beginning or even in the middle. The story jumps around to add to the confusion and chaos which keeps the reader going to find out what really happened (perhaps?) and think about what did I just read long after the last page has been read. If one likes a simple and straight forward type of story then this one is not for you.
Profile Image for Andrea.
107 reviews1 follower
February 4, 2020
I found this book hard going but having said that I kept reading . Very confusing at times but still worth reading .
Profile Image for Brenda Mohammed.
Author 75 books118 followers
May 22, 2016
“We fall in love with one version of someone and we expect them to stay that way, but they never do.” Unknown

“Men are from Mars and women are from Venus.” John Gray.

Clara found that her marriage to Peter was boring.
Life got in the way.
The hardships of living caused them to blame each other, and the marriage, and Clara wanted to be free.
Added to the couple’s problems was the presence and influence of a third party – Clara’s best friend.
I could not read this book in one sitting, and it is not because of its length.
The book contains violent incidents of torture, rape, murder, road rage, a serial killer, dark romance, and disrespect for teachers.
I needed a break in between chapters.
The characters in the story portrayed brutality no different from what is happening in the world today.
Nowadays, anger and rage are causing people to harm others in most violent ways and the minutest of problems are causing broken marriages.
We read about similar incidents in the daily newspapers and we watch live coverage of them on the television news and other media. There are CCTV cameras everywhere to catch the criminals in the act, and some TV stations show the raw footage when reporting news.
The author, in describing these events so bluntly, jolts us into reality to take stock of ourselves and to pay more attention to our spouses and others in our lives.
There are lessons to be learned from the story.
The book is not for the faint hearted and certainly qualifies under “Haunted Minds.”
It is indeed a psychological thriller with a surprising ending , and I commend the author on yet another book filled with mystery and suspense.
Of course I will be reading more of John Hennessy's books in the future.
Profile Image for Clara Babinski.
46 reviews1 follower
October 31, 2016
Don't waist your money! I think the author is a horny teenage boy living out his sexual fantasies through his writing. It was ridiculous, juvenile, and impossible to get into. I hated it! HATED, as in I hate cancer! It's garbage and a complete waste of time and money.
Displaying 1 - 15 of 15 reviews

Join the discussion

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.