The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood and Co #1) by Jonathan Stroud | Book Review

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 . . .

How was it?

The story in this book starts off really strong, it grabs your attention as the world-building is laid out and the main characters are presented. It’s a world in which ghosts’ are seen or at least felt in some way by everybody, which creates the need for people to deal with them since not all “visitors” are nice. This might not be the most interesting set-up but it works here, not just because children are the only ones sensitive enough to properly see, hear, and feel them – in a weird way it makes total sense, young minds, an openness to the world, etc. But the way everything is organized around the epidemic of ghosts is grounded and feels like that’s what would happen if we were in a similar situation.

Anthony Lockwood, Lucy, and George are a bit reckless, badass, and fun. At times, it did feel like George who was a bit of the piñata of the trio but he has enough backbone to stand up for himself. The book has good humor – on which it doesn’t heavily lean on – and heart. It becomes enjoyable to be in that world and root for the Lockwood & Co agency. However, to me, this story has one flaw, its mystery. The case that quickly turned into said mystery was great but as soon as one character was introduced the predictability of the whole case sky rocked. The action scenes that ensued were a good and creepy distraction but it almost made the story feel long because it was so obvious who was behind it all.

The Screaming Staircase is a promising start to a new series and it also has an upcoming adaptation that’s just has promising judging by the trailer.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Screaming Staircase and The Lockwood & Co book series is available on The Book Depository and other book retailers near you:

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