Excellent middle-grade fiction which delivers genuine chills. 4/5.
The blurb: 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…
Firstly, thank you to Lilyn at Sci-Fi & Scary for recommending this book. It was her review which convinced me to add it to my TBR and I’m delighted I did.
The Screaming Staircase is another book which backs up my belief that if a writer get their characters right then they can’t go far wrong elsewhere. Handled badly, the kids of Lockwood & Co. could have come across as foolhardy, smug and annoying. Thankfully, Stroud knows what he’s doing: the main characters are all adorable and you can’t help but warm to them quickly. This meant the parts of the story where the stakes were high were truly frightening because I cared whether the heroes lived or died. I worried even though I knew this was the first book in a series, making it highly likely they’d all survive!