Jonathan Stroud – Lockwood and Co: The Screaming Staircase
The first of a new series and another of the Random House books it reminded me of The Laws of Magic series by Michael Pryor X and Rivers of London (Peter Grant #1) by Ben Aaronovitch. Looking at the cover, as a non-horror reader I approached it with some trepidation but was unduly concerned. It was a fun read, enough twists, suspense and humour in the story for me to read it in one sitting. It fits within the adventure genre rather than horror. The Screaming Staircase is about three teenagers who are essentially ghost busting agents. Anthony Lockwood, George and Lucy, are part of Lockwood and Co, a psychic detection agency that gets rid of dangerous spectres and solves crimes along the way. In this story they have to spend a night in one of England’s most haunted and deadly houses in order to attain money to pay back a debt for a very costly mistake. As a non-ghost story reader, I found the detail of the ghost busting really interesting and obviously Stroud has been doing his research into salt, iron filings and so on. I even found myself wondering whether in real life, graveyards intentionally have wrought iron fences around them to keep bad spirits contained, or whether this is just a brilliant observation by a talented author.
I think there is enough within The Screaming Staircase that it could be book-listed and taught to Year 8 or 9. Looking at the promotional information, others also have high expectations for the series as the movie rights have already been bought by Universal.
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