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 leukemia.
The story opens in 1901 with siblings, Nathanial and Annabelle Parker, desperately attempting to flee their evil step-father, Colonel Parker. They almost make it to safety; however, they are captured and presumably killed in a fit of rage. The story then returns to the present and 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.
The school bully is 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 the two children he had met at the Payne mansion are actually the dead Nathaniel and Annabelle Parker. The ghost of Colonel Parker has it out for Matt and his brother because of their attempts to aid the dead children. Matt and Josh end up fighting for their lives. Matt is saved when his amulet, which turned out to be poisoned, is broken by an elf masquerading as a nurse; Josh is later saved by Matt. 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.
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