Book Review: The Screaming Staircase, by Jonathan Stroud

This book is available in bookstores now.

Ghosts, rapiers, Greek fire and teabags…screaming_staircaseThe Screaming Staircase is one ghost story that you will never forget.  It’s set in modern-day London, yet the city is transformed; homes are hung with iron charms and the streets teem with hidden dangers. The city is infested with ghosts.

Lucy Carlyle has a gift – she can sense ghosts.  When the young psychic applies for a job in a ghost-hunting agency, she hopes that she will become part of a wealthy, successful business. Instead, she is accepted into Lockwood and Co., which consists of only two people – both of whom are teenagers like herself.  The eccentric Anthony Lockwood is the manager of the agency, while George the “receptionist” maintains the headquarters.

It doesn’t take long before Lucy becomes part of Lockwood’s strange, small, ghost-fighting family…nor does it take long for her to realise that Lockwood and Co. is far from popular.  Each case seems to end in disaster…and it doesn’t help that Lockwood annoys their clients. After a particularly mysterious (and disasterous) case, Lockwood and Co. are given one last chance to redeem themselves – or their company will end for good.  Lockwood, Lucy and George are willing to do anything to save their agency…even if it means trying to solve a mystery set in the most haunted house in all of England…

The Screaming Staircase is like no other ghost story you’ve read before. It’s written with a brilliant sense of humour, similar to the style of the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy. The characters – particularly Anthony Lockwood – are unique yet believable, each with their own quirks or flaws. It’s a book that you will read and re-read, leaving you wide awake at night, listening to the noises outside in the dark… The Screaming Staircase is a thriller and comedy in one that is sure to be enjoyed by readers aged 12 and up.

Reviewed by Tierney Reardon

The Screaming Staircase: Lockwood & Co, Book 1
by Jonathon Stroud
Published by Doubleday
ISBN 9780857532022

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