Sunday, November 3, 2013

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


Apparitions in the forms of ghosts or "visitors" have been appearing all over London.  Most often these visitors appear to linger around a "source," or their place of death.  To manage these apparitions, agencies that specialize in paranormal activity have been cropping up around the city.   Lockwood & Company is one such agency, run by Anthony Lockwood and George.  The agency is run without adult supervision, because children are more attuned to ghosts and have special psychic talents, plus adults just get in the way.  However, realizing that they need an additional field operative, Lockwood and George decide to hire Lucy.   One of their first cases is to locate the Source of a visitor within Mrs. Hope's house.  Yet, in so doing they unavoidably burn down her house and must then figure out a way to pay for the damages. Things appear to be looking up when Lucy locates a locket and the trio stumble onto a murder case.  Relief finally comes when Mr. Fairfax offers to pay for the previous damages they caused and adds a hefty sum of money if they will come to find and seal a Source within The Combe Carey Hall, a place that houses the Red Room and Screaming Staircase.   

My first introduction to Jonathan Stroud's work was The Amulet of Samarkind, which was the first book in the four part series. The stories took place in London and centered around the relationship between Bartimaeus the djinni and his young master Nathaniel.  There were wizards and magicians with a ultimate battle between good and evil. In this case though, the wizards weren't all good.  I must admit that I haven't read to many ghost stories, but I really wanted to see Stroud's take on a ghost story and I've heard that this was going to be really good.  I must say I'm glad that I waited until Halloween to start this because I really loved the book.  It was a perfect pick for a Halloween read.  The world building and characters were so easy to get into.  I liked how the story was mostly told from Lucy's point of view.  Her insecurities and questionable fields skills kept the tension of the book ratcheted up and had me vested in the outcome.  Lovely lovely creepy book that I really enjoyed reading and am looking forward to the next in the series.  I am curious whether Stroud will switch points of view in the next books to give some more background on George and Lockwood, because I think this work very well for Lucy's story in this book. Adding this one to the favorites list and will defiantly be looking for the next in the series.   
Two great reviews are Tanya and Ms Yingling

My review copy was purchased.   

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