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Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud. Book Review

October 9, 2016


In an alternative modern Britain, the dead haunt the living and the results of their contact with the living cause untold problems. Lucy Carlyle runs away from home after a terrible experience in the course of her work and finds employment with Anthony Lockwood, a young man with a rather mysterious past. They soon become involved in a mystery which might prove to be the death of more than just Lockwood’s failing business.

This is the first outing of Lockwood & Co. Anthony Lockwood, Lucy Carlyle and the ghost hunting company’s gadget boffin, the less than athletic George Cubbins, are a solid set of characters with which to set forth on this highly entertaining outing into the paranormal. The Screaming Staircase, is essentially a whodunit with a thoughtfully laid out plot which pulls a reader through the intriguing paranormal goings-on.

Labelled as a mid-grade reader, the characters and tone of writing does lend itself to an older audience. This is a book that would work well for the lower age range of young adults (given that romance appears to be the furthest thing from the main protagonists’ minds). Adults will also find this an entertaining read, because there is plenty of action, detective work and suitably unsettling situations. The humans can be a piece of work, never mind the ghosts.

The world where spectres are out of control, providing employment for specialist firms dealing with these distressing incarnations, and the ways in which the ghost hunters use their array of weapons and devices, is well thought out. The paranormal events are written in a way which feels as if they are something you might expect as a regular occurrence and certainly give the sense of the characters being in danger.

Humour sits alongside the perilous action, giving the book a nice balance between the serious business at hand, of the ghost hunters dispatching the ghosts, before the ghosts can finish them off.

There is a handy glossary at the end to explain the different phenomena encountered in the book, which is very entertaining in itself.

Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase, was courtesy of Corgi Childrens via NetGalley

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