The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud Book Review

The Screaming Staircase: Lockwood & Co. #1 by Jonathan Stroud
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: August 29, 2013

For over fifty years, England has been affected by an epidemic of ghosts and there isn't a soul alive or dead who doesn't believe in them now. As a result a number of Psychic Investigation Agencies have been created to battle the problem. Within these agencies are children for they are more receptive to the various apparitions, but it is also an extremely dangerous job. Lucy Carlyle learned this the hard way, which is why she finds herself without an agency and searching for a job. In her search she finds Anthony Lockwood who helms his own agency free from adult interference. After getting themselves into a bit of a scrape with one rather angry Type 2 ghost, Lockwood & Co. must take on a job at one of the most haunted houses in England. 

A fabulous character-driven ghost story, I couldn't read this one fast enough. Lucy Carlyle is smart, strong, and completely bad-ass. Her ability to hear the ghost whispers makes her an extremely valuable member of the team at Lockwood & Co. Anthony Lockwood on the other hand is a little more secretive and heedless, but he is truly the leader of the group. George, the third and final member is uncouth, rude, and crabby, but he is their scholar.

The true gem of this book is the murder mystery and ghost story, of course. I can't say that I am really a big fan of ghost stories, but this one was truly riveting, completely creepy, and thoroughly entertaining. I'll tell you the whole screaming staircase, demented monks, and red rooms was enough to give my goose bumps.

Personally, I was shocked and excited that there was not a love story (or worse, a love triangle) within the story. Lucy doesn't fall for nor date either of her team member and I found it completely refreshing. You mean men and women can work around each other and not fall instantly in love with one another? Fantastic. Also, although the story itself was complete, there were just enough mysteries for a series and I wouldn't mind that at all. I do hope however that if Lucy does have to have a love interest, I truly hope she does so outside of the agency. I kind of like their current dynamic.