The Empty Mirror
by James Lincoln Collier
Reader: Adam Verne
Running Time: 3 hrs 45min
Published by AudioGO, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Ghost Story
My Rating: 3.75 of 5.0
Nick Hodges had always been a troublesome boy. Growing up an orphan in his Uncle Jack's care in a small New England town wasn't easy. Everyone was a little wary, a little watchful--a little too watchful. One day, while Nick is walking in the woods, a neighbor thinks she sees him miles from where he actually is. Soon a series of events reinforcing Nick's hotheaded reputation unfold. The incidents become increasingly serious until, finally, Nick is the scapegoat for a much more sinister crime, one that he wouldn't even think of committing. As he uncovers history of the town's influenza epidemic, and as he observes a strange occurrence in the graveyard, Nick begins to suspect something out of the ordinary is happening. And when he sees a figure running in the woods wearing the mirror image of his own shirt, Nick starts to piece together some of the answers--answers no one could have imagined. James Lincoln Collier has written a haunting story of a boy and his reflection--and what happens when two souls want to inhabit the same living body.
I suppose you could best describe this as a ghost story and a mystery. It is set in a type of back woods community in 1932. Nick, a young teen of 13, has already developed a reputation as a boy to cause trouble and mischief. One day a ‘nosy’ neighbor complains that he was rude to her. But he insists that he was miles away with his friend, Gypsy. Gypsy’s father is an abusive drunk. Her family is considered trash and no one would believe them.
Nick is puzzled by the false accusations until he is looking in a pond and doesn’t see his own reflection. As Nick tries to hunt down the doppelganger himself the mischief leads him to a grave marker of a boy his own age who died with the influenza the year that Nick was born. The reflection continues to cause trouble focusing town hostility towards Nick. As the mischief escalates it appears that Nick may well end up in jail unless he can find a way to show the sheriff or town people he is innocent. Then the threats become even more deadly and Nick must leave or find a way to stop the body snatcher.
The story is interesting in its simplistic, beautiful settings and the mysterious, creepy danger. It is an unusual story and not my usual read but I did find it entertaining. I recommend this to fans ghost stories and to those who like unusual surprises with a touch of creepiness.