The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co, #1) by Jonathan Stroud
This was another Netgalley ARC which did not impact how I reviewed the book. I had heard about this book from the author’s blog, which I follow on Goodreads as he is one of my favorite YA authors. He had talked about another YA author Rick Riordan reading it and just raving about it, so when I found it on Netgalley, I immediately requested it. The author did not disappoint. I devoured the book, even making myself run a bit late this morning as I tried to finish it before I left for work, as the ending was very well-done. My only gripe with the book was the lack of background on the character of Lockwood. The author made him rather mysterious.
The story takes place in an alternative history version of Great Britain, which is infested with ghosts or Visitors as they call them in the book. “The Problem” started in earnest about fifty years previously, and there are ghost hunting agencies all over London and the rest of the country that specialize in getting rid of them. Children are more apt at hearing and seeing them, so they are the agents, while adults supervise. A teenaged girl named Lucy Carlisle, who has the incredible ability of being able to hear ghosts, has come to London to find work in one of the agencies, but so far has not had any luck. That is, until she happens about a small firm called Lockwood and Company, operated by two teenage boys named Anthony (who goes by Lockwood) and George. She joins them after a strenuous test and is soon an active agent helping out with a variety of cases. The story opens as the crew is investigating a house in London, where a man has died and a Visitor has appeared. While neutralizing the ghost, they accidently burn the house down. This earns them not only a bad reputation but they are also being sued by the house’s owners. They need money and new cases fast. So when a new huge case lands in their lap, they jump at the chance. A wealthy lord has a house out in the country that is so full of ghosts it has been killing people for years. Will Lockwood and Company be able to survive the malevolent spirits trapped in this house and be able to gain their reputation back? To find out, read this exciting opening to the series. I am very much looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Recommended for ages 13+, 4 1/2 stars.