“The Empty Lot Next Door” by Arthur M. Mills, Jr. is the story of the author’s childhood and a haunting that occurred at that time. When six-year-old Ray and his family moved in next to an empty lot with a mysterious, black hole in the ground, it was only the beginning of Ray’s ghostly torment. At first, Ray and his friends used the lot as a playground of sorts although they stayed far away from the strange, black pit that was said to be the resting place of two children who were killed in a fire. But when Ray goes and dares the ghosts to show themselves, if they exist, he will pay the consequences for years. One of the ghosts, who Ray names “Candleface” because of her melted features, shows her self and begins to torment Ray. Will Ray be able to rid himself of Candleface?
Ray’s brother Richard had always put on magic shows and told stories for their friends until he met Griffin. According to Candleface, Griffin was her brother who had also burned to death in the fire. Griffin was a kinder and gentler ghost than Candleface and became friends with Richard. Soon after this Richard became kinder and stopped beating Ray. Although Richard had become kinder, it also seemed as if he were just an empty shell of his former self. It also seemed as if he had lost his will to live. This became apparent when he attempted to kill himself with the telephone cord. Can Ray lessen Richard’s aversion to life?
The book was based on the author’s childhood experiences which got kind of gloomy. The book reflected the author’s childhood experiences with a twist of fiction added. The twist of fiction was particularly exciting.
I would recommend “The Empty Lot Next Door” to people who like ghost stories. It was very creepy and was pretty gloomy and depressing; although it was still a very fun read. I would not recommend this book to the faint of heart. It deals with some very heavy topics and would probably not be appropriate for young children.