Book Review: Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

LockwoodCo

The Problem began in England almost 50 years ago. An epidemic of ghosts, spirits and poltergeist are roaming the earth at night. These aren’t the friendly ghosts of Hogwarts. One ghost touch and you’re dead! Ghost eradication agencies are more common than exterminators in Georgia and none of the top agents are even old enough to drive. It seems that children are the only ones that still possess the psychic ability to perceive the evil spirits so it’s up to the kids to exterminate them.

Lucy Carlyle has relocated to London to find a better agency. She quit her last one after her adult supervisor ignored her instincts and she was the only agent to survive what should have been a simple assignment. After seven interviews in seven days, Lucy lands a job at Lockwood & Company owned and operated by Anthony Lockwood, a teenager too. Along with George, a weird but brilliant researcher, the three of them are the entire agency and it’s one of the few without an adult supervisor. They like it that way.

Lucy’s first job with Lockwood turns into a fiery fiasco and they burn a house down. They get fined $60,000. Desperate to get cash, they accept a very unusual and very dangerous job at Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. What they find is more terrible than anything they’ve ever seen before, but they also find the answers to an unsolved murder mystery.

Sound scary? It is at times, but when it’s not action-packed ghost fighting, it’s hilarious. Jonathan Stroud does a masterful job of injecting wry and sarcastic humor into the most dire situations. And the mystery is top notch too! Fans who love Dr. Who, Men In Black, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom will love this series. Sorry for thinking of movie and a television show for examples, but I’ve never really read anything like this in children’s literature before.

Not only did I love it, but both of my daughters did as well (ages 15 & 13). We just bought the second in the series… in hardback. That’s high praise.

*Note that this book is listed both as a MG and YA. May not be for younger readers (or the faint of heart…muhwahahaha). 🙂

 


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