Matt Monroe and the Haunted House is a fast-moving, eerily descriptive story about a fourteen- year-old boy from southwestern Pennsylvania, who is confronted by an evil entity. Complicating matters is the fact Matt is also recovering from leukaemia.
The story opens with siblings, Nathanial and Annabelle Parker, desperately attempting to flee their evil step-father. They almost make it to safety when they are captured and presumably killed in a fit of rage. The story then embarks upon an incredible game of cat and mouse; cunningly leading readers down several blind alleys in their quest for the truth, beautifully linking each character and thread.
Matt has been having a succession of nightmares of late; nightmares that he worries are visions. He fears that his leukaemia has returned. In one of his dreams, Matt not only encounters the sinister step-father, but “sees” him dragging Nathanial and Annabelle out of the backyard shed against their will.
The school bully is then thrown into the equation along with several teachers and an assortment of friends; each beautifully flawed, their true intentions blurred just enough to make readers wonder where their true allegiance lies. Apart from the moral compasses that are Matt and his brother Josh, any one of the other characters could be the “bad guy.”
Several of the characters have “gifts” that are pivotal to the story. Bill can read people’s memories. His Grandma Elsa can read the tarot cards. Izadora uses a crystal ball, while Danielle eventually admits to being a necromancer. These talents are at the heart of the story, and several characters warn Matt about the deadly danger he and Josh are in. It also serves to bridge the gap successfully not only between the parallel worlds but also between the living and the dead.
In the middle of the story Matt learns that Nathaniel and Annabelle are actually dead, brutally murdered by their step-father over one-hundred years ago. Both Matt and Josh end up fighting for their lives. The mansion in which Nathanial and Annabelle still “live” with their stepfather is constantly at the forefront of the story. The plot builds to a spectacular conclusion when the teenagers decide to take matters into their own hands and enter the haunted Payne mansion under the guise of attending a school Halloween party.