Take a little bit of Harry Potter, mix in a young Sherlock Holmes, add a dash of old school Encyclopedia Brown, and you have the basis of Jonathan Stroud’s new series LOCKWOOD & CO. The first book in the LOCKWOOD & CO. series is The Screaming Staircase, and it’s sure to be a hit with young readers fascinated by mystery with a little paranormal thrown in to boot. Continue reading for our spoiler-free review of Jonathan Stroud’s LOCKWOOD & CO. The Screaming Staircase.
Update October 21, 2013
Take a peek at the interactive trailer for Lockwood & Co. It’s a bit of a choose-your-own adventure mystery that allows you to create your own ghostly journey.
Review from September 17, 2013 follows below…
The book jumps right into the action introducing us to the young Lockwood & Co. team of ghost hunters Anthony Lockwood, George Cubbins, and Lucy Carlyle engaged in a spirited duel with, um…, spirits, that results in the burning destruction of a London homestead. Solving the case, but losing the house, puts the Psychic Detection Agency on the brink of financial collapse and forces them to accept a dangerous investigation in the mysterious and cursed Combe Carey Hall, location of the sinister Red Room and Screaming Staircase.
The Screaming Staircase is set in a world dealing with “The Problem” – dead return to haunt the living and apparitions continuously appear after dark. The Problem’s been going on for 40-50 years, and the young serve on the front line of defense because of their extreme psychic sensitivity. The story is told from Lucy Carlyle’s perspective, and she has been fighting off ghosts and spirits since she was 8 years old.
After the opening scene, the book builds slowly adding layer upon layer of rich detail and building characters. It’s not until 200 pages into the story the reader first learns of “The Screaming Staircase” referred to in the title. However, once we discover the aforementioned staircase, the author takes hold, pushes the reader face first into the Red Room to confront all the horrors of the night. Note, there may be some scary, intense imagery from the ghosts that appear in the final chapters, but tweens and teens will be more than fine and embrace the story.
Kids who love suspense, mystery, and/or ghost stories will be enthralled with this new series by Jonathan Stroud. Parents may want to read the book first just to make sure it’s appropriate for their youngsters… Mmmmm, hmmm, that’s the reason. Oh heck, this father enjoyed the book just as much as when he read Harry Potter or The Hunger Games before handing them down to his daughters. I can’t wait for Book 2 of LOCKWOOD & CO.