The Screaming Staircase

May 1, 2016

Lockwood & Co #1. Author: Jonathan Stroud.


Lucy Carlyle is a talented teen-agent seeking employment in London. She’s a ghost-killer, one of hundreds who protect the countryside. For fifty years now ghosts have been returning to kill the living, and only the young can sense them. The only agency Lucy can get into turns out to be a small, independent organization with only three agents, called Lockwood & Co. after its head. The agency is already struggling with lack of customers, and when a case goes disastrously wrong, they’re ready to take on anything to climb back up – even the most suspicious of cases.

My Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed this alternative-history murder mystery. The main character is an independent, intelligent heroine – always a plus – and her companions stand out in their own right. The alt-history is well done, grounding the story solidly in a believable place and time. I’ve seen some reviews complaining about the exposition, but for me the plot seemed fast-paced, with excellent tension. A lot of shivers, and I was careful not to read it too close to the evening.

Content Review:

Sexual content: None.

Language: 10 hell, 4 bloody, 1 d***

Violence: Ghost tries to push a character down a staircase. Child-agents are killed by a ghost just out of sight of the pov character. A sword fight. Characters investigate long-ago cases of violent deaths such as motorcycle accidents, suicides, etc. Past event were three agents were found dead, ghost-touched. A man is killed by a vengeful ghost’s touch.

Warning: There are some non-violent but very spooky scenes with ghosts; there are also some instances of ghosts manifesting in corpse-forms graphically described. On this account, I would not recommend for younger or sensitive children without parental perusal. (Read at night at your own risk!)


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