Centuries ago, Justice Murrain and his band of demented shock troops ruled the small coastal town of Crowdale with an iron fist. The streets ran red with the blood of those he tormented; he took what he pleased, and pleased himself where and with whom he saw fit. Crowdale lay firmly in his grip until his death and supernatural imprisonment beneath the floor of the Murrain mausoleum, enacted by the will of a son he'd neglected to kill after maiming him for life. Since then, the Murrains have lived as outcasts, not only because of Justice Murrain's sins, but also because of their lonely, sworn duty: to watch over and secure their ancestor's imprisonment...forever.
Now, in modern day, coastal erosion endangers the graveyard and the mausoleum under which Justice Murrain's black soul resides. Day by day more of the graveyard falls into the ocean, and even though an archaeological survey team races the clock to find historical artifacts of enough importance warranting government preservation of the land, time is quickly slipping away. That, and two sons of a woman scorned by Jacob Murrain (the eldest living Murrain descendant) nurse a thirst for revenge that will blunder them into doing exactly what Justice Murrain wants most: setting him free to maim and kill again.
“Ghost Monster” is certainly a reworking of often used themes. However, it's well done, a “fun read” with finely crafted prose. Clark's characters are sympathetic and believable, which, combined with his craftsmanship, lifts the novel above it's often-revisited storyline.