Lockwood & Co
Jonathan Stroud

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co step in...
For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.
Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.
Set in a city stalked by spectres, 'The Screaming Staircase' is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again . . .
"You'll want to leave the lights on . . . Stroud is a genius." Rick Riordan
"It's a ripper! . . . With plentiful wit and good humour, more than a few chilling moments and, above all, refreshing creativity, Jonathan Stroud has constructed an energetic, fast-paced narrative that trips nimbly back and forth from the present to the past as he first sketches and then deftly paints this fascinating landscape." (Science Fiction World)

"It's brilliant - that's all you need to know really so go and buy it now." Bookzone4boys
Caterina, from St James Catholic High School

Around 50 years ago, the problem started. The problem being the ghosts. The idea behind the story is genius. Set in a world like our own, but filled with ghosts, you can’t help but feel a little bit scared of the darkness after reading it. The book follows the story of a small ghost hunting agency, Lockwood & Co., led by Anthony Lockwood.  The story is told through the eyes of Lucy Carlyle, a new member of Lockwood & Co, along with Lockwood and George. I think this makes the book even better, giving the reader a real insight to how the characters feel, and giving them the feeling of being right there, in amongst all the action. With enormous plot twists throughout (which I won’t spoil for anyone who has not read the book) I would definitely place this book on top of the “Must Read” List. I think the genre of this book is Horror/ Adventure, with a twist of Mystery. Definitely one to read if you love a spooky adventure!

This is an amazing book filled with mystery, adventure and above all spine-tingly scary ghosts from the first page. Even though the link has been made many times before, the book and story remind me of Harry Potter, because of the dependance on children and teenagers to save the world. (Not to mention that Lucy’s psychic powers seem more powerful then Lockwood’s and George’s!)  

The commitment Stroud made to write this book is amazing, with research and a glossary filled with ghost words; it makes the book even more believable and realistic (at least as realistic as a book about ghosts can be!)

I rate this book 10/10 and 5 stars. The Lockwood & Co. series looks set to take the world on the spookiest ride of its life!

And I can’t wait for the next one!!! 

Dominic, from Wren Academy Barnet

When I first began reading this book, I was transported to an eerie dimension where suspense is around every corner. I was taken through a range of emotions, from ecstatic to distraught, and from hopeful to terrified. I was pleasantly surprised by the haunting effect of Jonathan Stroud's writing, as I would not usually opt to read a book of this genre.

From beginning to end, I was taken on a thrilling journey through Lucy Carlyle's unusual, abnormal career. I was fascinated by her gifts and the abilities they gave her, and mildly disturbed by the tension of such a demanding occupation. Stroud's vivid imagination was ever present in Lucy, with truly scary depictions of paranormal activity and dark settings; this author transported me to places I would dread visiting in real life.

The depth of the characters' stories was insightful and interesting, and continued to engage me further throughout the book. Furthermore, the chemistry between them was humorous and, at points, hilarious - these exchanges seemed to add a light and airy tone to a generally dark and shocking story.

Although before I had read this book I would have tended to avoid horror, Jonathan Stroud has introduced me to a new and vast genre, and has consequently instilled a more adventurous quality in my inner reader.

In my opinion, this book is very effective and successful and will truly engage any willing reader who comes across it. I will now look out for Jonathan Stroud as I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.

James, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Stroud’s imagination is almost as wild as the very ghosts he writes about! Beautifully written, like an elaborate quilt, this terrible tale about Anthony Lockwood and his two companions (Lucy Carlyle and George) is so horrifying - so much so that I had to convince myself that when I went to bed, in the morning a pile of dead monks' bones wouldn’t appear on it! During modern day, Visitors (ghosts) stalk London; Stroud has come up with several remedies in order to stop The Problem from spreading as much as it could -  such as lavender-scented candles, charms and certain metals. As well as describing the modern-day part of the story, including a deadly mystery, Stroud has written one of his five parts on when and where Lucy Carlyle, our eyes and ears, first appeared to have the ability to sense paranormal activity.

This novel is to horror stories as The Hounds of the Baskervilles is to crime fiction. As if I had been ghost-touched, I could barely control my actions: all I wanted to do was to read this astounding book. First in line of the shocking Lockwood and Co. series, this tale of haunting, houses on fire and helmets (of the strange kind) is bound to make you want to turn on your night-light. 

Josh, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Lockwood & Co is a wonderful read.  It is from the perspective of a young girl, Lucy Carlyle, who travelled from a small village in Northern England after a bad ending to her last employment. The story is set in a time where Britain is plagued by a wave of hauntings… but not the normal kind! The ghosts in the book are set into categories: Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3. Type 1 ghosts are harmless, but scary. Type 2 ghosts have the ability to kill. Not much is known about type 3 ghosts… During her stay with the psychical investigation agency Lockwood & Co, Lucy meets her two colleagues, Anthony Lockwood (likeable), and George (not so likeable). They have many adventures, and after a case goes horribly wrong, they are faced by some deadly foes, but not just the dead kind…

In my opinion, Lockwood and Co is an interesting book. It is written in a clever order over the four main parts, the second part being a sort of autobiography of the main character, and then continuing from the end of part 1. It is full of new and interesting language; I didn’t know that there were so many words in the English language! The book includes small and quick humorous sections that add effect and make the book more fun to read. I give it an ‘unputdownability’ rating of 9/10, since I had to put the book down to check if anyone was in my bedroom with me!

Merlis, from Wren Academy Barnet

I must confess I don’t personally enjoy ghost stories, as I get so very scared, but Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase was a pleasant surprise. 

Lucy Carlyle, a psychic, comes to London hoping to help with an epidemic of ghosts (the ‘Problem’.) She joins the smallest, most ramshackle agency run by the charismatic Anthony J. Lockwood and his sarcastic deputy, George Cubbins. Together, they go on a number of adventures, risking their lives on each occasion. 

The three main characters each have their own particular talent, and on the whole work well together. Despite their youth, Lockwood & Co. are both mature and really brave. By contrast, some of the characters are really horrible, with John William Fairfax being very cold-hearted and callous. 

As the title of the book suggests, it was scary, with vivid language evoking fear.

However, Jonathan Stroud had a unique way of sprinkling some funny moments into the scary chapters, which made it not as frightening as it might have been! The author built up the tension stealthily, and he was not in a rush to reveal the ghosts or who was lurking in the shadows. 

To conclude I really enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to girls and boys aged 10+. (But not of a scary disposition!)

Nicole, from Wren Academy Barnet

When Lucy Carlyle, a young girl, joins the agency named ‘Lockwood and Co.’, the success raises and the requests increase. Lucy has a talent that is very rare: she can sense and talk to the visitors (the ghosts) and whenever she touches an object, she recalls the history of the object and the emotion that the owner had when he/she was in contact with it. Also, her instincts are the only thing she can trust even though before joining the agency, no one trusted her instincts which caused several deaths.

During the whole book the action is continuous; the reader never bores of the current situation and this causes the reader to became tense while serious and dangerous, especially when one of their cases goes wrong and only has one chance to redeem their reputation otherwise they will have no money. The scenes are quite visual with the visitor which makes the book more enjoyable – if there’s no phobia of ghosts, of course.

The humour throughout the whole book was enjoyable and gave a crack of laughter; the book had a good balance between seriousness and humour. This made the reader not leave the book as it had a good plot, adventure and humour. It is a masterpiece.

The different parts in the book were unique and there was a wise structure: it started with a case (in fact, at first you have to question yourself if this book is the first book out if the series), then Lucy Carlyle comes to London looking for a job and finds the agency ‘Lockwood and Co.’, then the case that goes wrong and finally the last chance case. This structure gave a good effect to the reader.

The language is easy to read giving a quick delight to read. Also,  after reading this book a couple of times it won’t get boring.

Shivani, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

Genre(s): Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Action.

Anthony Lockwood: charismatic and energetic; George Cubbins: the slightly grumpy yet astute deputy; and Lucy Carlyle: quick witted and very talented.

This is Lockwood & Co., one of many ghost hunting agencies that have appeared to fight the recent epidemic of ghosts and spectres haunting the country.  When Lucy Carlyle arrives in London, she hopes for a notable career. Instead, she gets Lockwood & Co., a small, ramshackle, but incredibly talented agency, run by the enigmatic Anthony Lockwood.  After a series of disastrous cases, Lockwood & Co. face a terrible prospect. However, when they are landed with an amazing new case, they know that this could be the one to change everything, but the team will also have to risk everything. In just one night, a baffling, beautifully woven mystery of treachery and love will unfold before your eyes in a thrilling tale of life and death.

What I love about this book is that it jumps right into the action, telling you about the setting, circumstances and characters without the need for an introduction. The book is rich with deliciously haunted settings, perfectly complemented by the descriptive haunting words. You will find phrases running through your mind for days afterwards. The dark sides to the story are perfectly complemented and contrasted by the sharp flashes of dead pan humour. You will constantly find yourself suspended between laughter and knuckle clenching terror throughout the novel. 

The book is also the first part of an ongoing series, and should definitely be read first.

It is an amazing read for both boys and girls who enjoy action and a gripping read! It’s definitely for any Skulduggery Pleasant fans or really anyone who likes a good ghost-busting story. Lockwood & Co. is one of the best books I have ever read; just be careful not to read it too late at night, or you may find yourself living the tale!

Sophia, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

Lockwood and Co. - The Screaming Staircase is a narrative that captivated me from the first sentence. I fell in love with Stroud’s writing technique: from the fluidity of his story to his elegant descriptions. I would have to think long and hard to find a fault in this novel. It was a joy reading this book, and I was genuinely unnerved by the vivid descriptions of ghosts and apparitions.

The story has a very good plot, with original ideas and clever inventions. It is set in a modern society that seems ordinary, except for the ghosts that appear at night and haunt buildings. Originally this sounds like quite a clichéd storyline; however, Stroud provides some ingenious twists to the classic ghost theme, making his narrative highly enjoyable. Although there was an intriguing plot it was the writing style that kept me entranced. I loved the description, the depth it provided and how it brought the story to life. I cannot wait until the next book in the series comes out.

Tal, from Jewish Community Secondary School

As a fan of Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus trilogy, I was really looking forward to starting The Screaming Staircase, and I can safely say that it did not disappoint. While the Bartimaeus trilogy will always remain a series incomparable to most (I still miss old Barty!), The Screaming Staircase was such a fun and enjoyable book with a great cast of characters and a lot of witty dialogue. Lucy, our narrator, was an intelligent young teen who had joined Lockwood & Co. as a junior field operative. Her Talent was the ability to hear ghosts (also called Visitors) much more clearly than others, and she was particularly Sensitive to them and the emotions they experienced while they were alive. I really liked Lucy, she had a good sense of humour and was always up for a challenge, though she was nowhere near as reckless as Lockwood, who often charged in without thinking. She also hated being thought of as the "weak link" of the group and had to handle people looking down on her, but I think she dealt with it quite well overall. Her Talent was also quite fascinating as she was able to collect detailed information from Visitors that helped in investigations.

Lockwood was a character that you just had to like. He was funny and good-natured and though he was impetuous, he was actually very clever and could come up with theories quickly and improvise to build on them. He clearly cared a lot about George and Lucy too, and didn't like it when people judged them all for being "too young" to be ghost-hunting. George was sort of Lockwood's opposite; he liked to do thorough research before setting out, he said whatever he thought, even if it was rude, and while he and Lockwood got along, George and Lucy had a bit of more strained relationship, though I think they both respected each other. George however was a vital part of a team and without his research, they probably wouldn't get much done!

Plot-wise, I really liked reading about the way everyone dealt with the Visitors - they hated iron, so carrying iron filings and chains was essential. There were also weapons made from Greek Fire which were very cool, and the scenes where ghost-fighting occurred were some of the best ones. The mystery was engaging and I was very intrigued to find out how a certain ghost died. To be honest, some things were a little predictable and I wasn't surprised to find out who the culprit was, but it was enjoyable all the same. I also loved the scene involving the actual "screaming staircase" and that was probably one of my favourite parts of the book. My only complaints would be that the characters acted and spoke a lot older than their age, and the setting didn't seem modern day - even though there were TVs and cars and bank wiring, it seemed more Victorian era/early 1900s to me. I would have liked to have known more about how Visitors became so prevalent as well, but I'm sure there'll be more explanation in future books.

Overall, The Screaming Staircase was a fab new start to what is looking like another great series by Jonathan Stroud. I'll definitely be continuing the series, and I recommend this to anyone who likes ghost stories with a lot of humour and mystery.