The story reads almost like a classic literary cliché so far—a stereotypical middle-class family, the husband obsessed with his status and career as vice-principal and a perspective of becoming a principal, a sensitive teenage boy who feels distant and alienated from his parents, and a hardworking wife and mother who gets "a little" depressed and cannot hold the family together anymore. Then, a few days after the funeral, the boy disappears, and his uncle is called to help find him. It turns out that for several days before his disappearance, the boy was obsessed with a mysterious neighborhood house. It appears that the house was once owned by his mother's cousin, a serial killer who died in prison years ago. It also turns out that recently several boys in the city of Millhaven disappeared without a trace. A new serial killer? Ghosts of the past? Suddenly, the tale becomes much more complicated and intertwines a murder mystery, a possible ghost-house tale, and a serial-killer tale. The last few pages tie almost everything together and explain all the mysteries. No matter how mundane and schematic it may seem, the conclusion is a bit haunting and unsettling.