Saturday 7 September 2013

Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathon Stroud (Children's, 11 years +, 8/10)

August 2013, Doubleday Children's
448 pages, paperback
Review copy

Content: Ghosts, violence, sword fighting - all tempered with humour

Summary from Doubleday Children's

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again . . .
The Mole's Review 
The story is told by Lucy and includes her back story while intrigue is created around Lockwood and we learn nothing about George, the third team member, except that perhaps he is a tiny bit of a slob. The synopsis from the publisher would have you quaking in your boots while reading this but... It is written with a great deal of humour interlaced throughout and it's set in... well I really don't know. Ghosts started becoming a huge "Problem" 50 years ago and all the technology we have today is not mentioned either. I believe it must be set in a fictional future to a fictional past. Does that make sense? It was easy to think we were in Victorian times yet at other points that didn't work too well. Another issue I had with it was I couldn't really think of Lucy, Lockwood and George as young children which is what they are supposed to be. BUT... none of this stopped me from having a whale of a time reading it. A good story brilliantly told - Stroud is an excellent storyteller.

You might also like Aldo Moon and the Ghost at Gravewood Hall by Alex Woolf

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