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The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co #1) – Jonathan Stroud

“Of the first few hauntings I investigated with Lockwood & Co. I intend to say little, in part to protect the identity of the victims, in part because of the gruesome nature of the incidents, but mainly because, in a variety of ingenious ways, we succeeded in cocking them all up. There, I’ve admitted it! Not a single one of those early cases ended as neatly as we’d have wished.”

When Lucy Carlyle goes for her interview at Lockwood & Co. the agency seemed unusual and shabby, there wasn’t the formality that there had been at the other agencies and one of the workers seemed sure she would run screaming at the site of the first ghost. Lucy was determined to prove him wrong and after passing the interview with flying colours she soon learns that Lockwood & Co. isn’t the most formal of agencies, but when there’s spirits to be fought, who needs formalities? Following a pattern of chaotic investigations the talents of the agency are under doubt, Lockwood, George and Lucy have to prove the doubters wrong and what better way to do it than take on a high profile, highly dangerous investigation that might just get them killed. 

Right from page one Jonathan Stroud had me hooked into this magical world where the dead come back to haunt us after dark. The streets are no longer safe and a curfew has been initialised, but even peoples homes are breeding grounds for the ghosts who love to visit. The spring of agencies when the Problem began has now grown and they all contain younger people, those who have the talents to see the visitors, and those who are willing to fight them so that homes and buildings can be safe once more. 
The whole book was a creepy affair of ghost and intrigue, the atmosphere of the world in which Lockwood, George and Lucy lived seeped from the pages and I could feel it coming alive in my living room as I sat and read. I honestly couldn’t put the book down and when the group went to Bliss Hall, oh wow, I may as well have been there myself! 
Stroud does an incredible job of making you feel the setting, be aware of the ghosts and the talents that the main character have and just fall in love with each and every one of them, despite their problems. I thought that the three Lockwood agents were fantastic and their relationship made the book slightly more light hearted, which was definitely needed in the scary moments! I just loved the perfect blend of horror and humour.
The storyline within The Screaming Staircase was brilliant and I don’t really want to give anything away so I won’t go into it too much. Suffice to say there are ghosts and there’s a great deal of battling going on. The way things should be done are not necessarily the way they are done at Lockwood & Co. but that makes for a better read anyway so I didn’t mind at all! The horror elements were brilliantly horrific and I tensed up at all the right times which is exactly what you want from this kind of book and I honestly couldn’t put it down. 
The Screaming Staircase is the first in the Lockwood & Co. series and despite only finishing it a mere hour ago I cannot wait for more. I have had Jonathan Stroud’s The Amulet of Samarkand on my tbr shelf for years and now I’ve read this I think its high time I read that one! 

The Screaming Staircase will be published on 29th August by Doubleday, a Random House imprint. My copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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One Comment

  • Charlotte

    Even better than the Bartimaeus trilogy is the stand alone Bartimaeus book, The Ring of Soloman. It is just great.

    I’m looking forward to Screaming Staircase–I’ve had a copy looking at me with kitten eyes for several weeks now….

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