Lockwood & Company: The Screaming Staircase

August 12, 2016 Book Reviews 0 ★★★★

Lockwood & Company: The Screaming StaircaseLockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
Published by Disney Electronic Content on September 17th 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Fantasy & Magic, Horror
Pages: 400

A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren''t exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see—and eradicate—these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business. In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall''s legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day? Readers who enjoyed the action, suspense, and humor in Jonathan Stroud''s internationally best-selling Bartimaeus books will be delighted to find the same ingredients, combined with deliciously creepy scares, in his thrilling and chilling Lockwood & Co. series.

This is a fun book, something I would have absolutely gone bonkers over when I was in grade school or junior high. As an adult, it’s a nice break from some of the heavier fantasy. It’s also refreshing in that it focuses on action instead of romance – which is what has turned me off from a lot of the YA stuff coming out. I wanted to read about kids fighting ghosts and that’s what I got.

One of the things that struck me was that the story was told in first person, not from the PoV of Lockwood, but from the perspective of the group’s latest recruit, a young lady by the name of Lucy Carlyle. In some ways, it reminds of a Sherlock Holmes story with Lucy taking the place of Dr. Watston, describing the escapades of the group, especially their eccentric leader Anthony Lockwood.

The story leaps right into the action, detailing an exciting and completely disastrous job that nearly kills off Lucy and Lockwood straight off. It gets them into all sorts of hot water, especially financially, and provides the reason they take on a wholly nasty job that could well be beyond their abilities. I won’t go into tons of detail, I don’t want to ruin the adventure, but I will say there are tons of creepy and dangerous ghosts the trio (Lucy, Lockwood and George) must deal with. It’s no Scooby Doo tale where the ghosts end up being fake.

I like the rationale for why all of the ghost hunters are youngsters. I don’t like how all of the adults are either stupid or nasty. There is too much of that in stories intended for a young audience. It’s okay for the kids to be heroes without having to resort to turning all adults into the enemy. Aside from that, I found the book a real pleasure. I will be reading the next in the series.


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