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The Screaming Staircase

Stroud, Jonathan

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
The Screaming Staircase
Follows three young operatives of a Psychic Detection Agency as they battle an epidemic of ghosts in London.

Publisher: New York :, Disney-Hyperion Books,, [2013]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781423164913
Characteristics: 390 pages :,illustrations ;,22 cm


From the critics

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Mar 24, 2015
  • ChrysLeva86 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A little fig that tastes haunting, exciting and laughable at the same time. I find the series fun to read and enjoy it with my quiet space.

Mar 04, 2015

I think this is a great book with a great story line. I understand what you guys are saying by that it might be inappropriate for kids 8 years and over to be fighting ghosts, but I understand the author too. Children's hearing is more sensitive that that of an adult, and so it might be the same for fighting ghosts.

Feb 21, 2015
  • mvkramer rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This book was kind of between a two and a three star book for me. In part I had a hard time jumping the hurdle that is the premise - that people would be so blythe about letting children - like, genuine kids, ages 8 and up - risk their lives fighting ghosts. It was an ok read, but I don't think I'll get the sequel.

Feb 17, 2015
  • Cynthia_N rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Do you have a young reader who loves the ghost hunter television shows? This is the book for them! Only people under 15 can sense the paranormal activity going on in England so they run the show when it comes to ghost hunting. Lockwood & Co. has no adults whatsoever! Great book!

Feb 03, 2015
  • k3j0 rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Bit of a disappointment.
The main character, Lucy, is essentially the only female character in the book. The only other female character is an occupational rival (at least she isn't a rival in a love interest so there's that... I guess.) One of the reasons she doesn't like this rival is because this girl has a case of the prettierthanmeez. Which makes Lucy's already flat character even shallower.
Another downer: Stroud telegraphs his plot. It's kinda predictable. Not Dan Brown predictable, thank tweeny Jesus, but still pretty easy to see what's coming.
Now for the positives!
Like The Bartimaeus Trilogy, it has a great concept. And it has, umm, something else going for it. But maybe not. Ok. So probably just one positive thing going for it which is way more than Dan Brown has going, amirite.

Jan 02, 2015
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I was quite excited to see Stroud is writing a new series, because there are certain things that are going to be givens about anything he writes: depth, quality, excitement, suspense, humor, realistically developed characters, and detailed world-building. This was no exception. You might have noticed that I "shelved" it as adventure, fantasy, horror, and mystery, and I debated a couple of others. It is all those and more. He has an extraordinary ability to take his time developing his setting and characters in detailed ways that have the potential to feel slow, while creating--and maintaining--excitement, energy, and lightness so that the the story never lags. Yes, this is one of those books with a glossary at the end to help explain all the things the author has invented, but I didn't realize it was there until I reached it since I felt no need to look for it, as everything made perfect sense as it occurred in the course of the telling. This is fun, escapist reading that doesn't require work, yet is weighty and filling as well.

The world Stroud has created in Lockwood & Co. might be summed up as one featuring teenage British ghostbusters. The characters are proper, mannered, and sardonic even as they're having near death brushes with dangerous "visitors," jumping out the upper windows of burning buildings, and rebelling against social customs and adult authorities. Narrator and primary protagonist Lucy is a bit of a Watson to Lockwood's reckless, confident, charismatic Holmes. While contrasting personalities, both prefer to rush into action, trusting in their talents, abilities, and intuitions, rather than cautiously researching the histories of their ghosts like the gruff George, the third member of their agency. None of the three fit in at the more established agencies, and, while they are out to make a living, they want to make a name for themselves in the process. Not all of their risks pay off, however, and there's real suspense about the success of each case they accept. I can't wait to read the next one and see what other secrets we'll uncover about the strange ghost infestation that has transformed Stroud's England from the one we know.

Dec 23, 2014

The Screaming Staircase is one of the most exciting books I’ve read this year. Jonathan Stroud had me on the edge of my seat, anticipating a ghost to jump out at me around every twist and turn of the plot. Jonathan has created such a chilling atmosphere in the book that you hear the creaks and groans of the old houses and almost feel the temperature drop in the room as the characters get closer to the ghosts. You get caught up in the mystery of the lives of the living and the dead and Jonathan keeps you in suspense.

I love the world that Jonathan has created in the book; one much like ours but one plagued by ghosts of all sorts. There are different types of ghosts, from a Type One Shade to a Type Two Wraith. There are Physic Investigation Agencies (of which Lockwood and Co. is one) which specialise in the ‘containment and destruction of ghosts.’ These are run by adult supervisors but rely on the strong physic Talent of children. It is only children who can see and hear the ghosts so it is up to them to capture them. There is no mention of when the story is set (which I think just makes the story even better), but there is a mixture of both old-fashioned clothes and weapons, and modern technology. The ghost hunters’ kit includes an iron rapier, iron chains and magnesium flares, all of which prove extremely necessary when facing the spectral threats. Jonathan has even included a detailed glossary of terms and types of ghost, which I found really interesting to read after I had finished the book.

The three main characters, all members of Lockwood and Co., are all fantastic characters who really grew on me as the story progressed. They each have their quirks, especially Lockwood and George, but they make a brilliant team and have each others’ backs when it counts. There’s no love triangle here, just good old-fashioned camaraderie and getting the job done (if it doesn’t kill them first). Lockwood, George and Lucy are building their relationship in this book, so there are some tense moments between them (especially George and Lucy) but Jonathan’s dialogue is brilliant. I’m looking forward to seeing how their relationships develop in the further books.

I can’t wait for more Lockwood and Co.! If you want a book that you won’t want to put down, that you’ll want to read with the lights on, then Lockwood and Co.: The Screaming Staircase is perfect. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Nov 19, 2014
  • GhostWriterAt221B rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I have to admit, I've read and reread this book four times and counting. Thrilling, sinister, but keeps a lighthearted feel throughout the story. My vote: less George and more Locklyle (Lockwood and Lucy). Now, stop dillydalling and reading reviews and READ IT ALREADY!

Oct 08, 2014

this book is possibly the best book I have ever read. I knew nothing about it when I bought it, but I absolutly loved it!!!!!!!!! if you like scary books, you will, like me, love it. I felt like I was in the book with the people, doing and saying everything with them. read it, you'll love it

Aug 15, 2014

A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren't exactly friendly. Only young people have the unique abilities required to see-and eradicate-these unnatural foes. Many different Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business. In 'The Screaming Staircase', the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision.

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Feb 27, 2014
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Just because, a sample of Stroud's fluent, eloquent writing:

"The caretaker was certainly very ancient, a tight and desiccated thing from which all softness and moisture had long since been extracted. Where Mr. Fairfax had been bullishly vigorous despite his age and infirmity, this man was more like the ash tree by the house: gnarled and twisted, but holding tenaciously to life. He had a shock of gray-white hair, and a narrow face that disintegrated, as he drew near, into a web of lines, a limestone surface with bumps and fissures. His clothes carried an air of somber correctness: he was dressed in an old-fashioned tail coat of dark black velvet, from the sleeves of which gray, liver-spotted fingers protruded. His striped pants were incredibly thin, his shoes as long and pointed as his nose."

Sep 08, 2013
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“Of the first few hauntings I investigated with Lockwood & Co. I intend to say little, in part to protect the identity of the victims, in part because of the gruesome nature of the incidents, but mainly because, in a variety of ingenious ways, we succeeded in messing them all up.”

Sep 08, 2013
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“In fact, it wasn’t at all an ugly hallway; in bright sunlight it might have looked quite pleasant. But not so much now, with the last light from the door panes stretching out like skewed coffins on the floor in front of us; and with our shadows neatly framed inside them..”

Sep 08, 2013
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"With his glasses off, his eyes looked small and weak – blinky and a bit baffled, like an unintelligent sheep that’s taken a wrong turn. But when he put them on again, they went all sharp and steely, more like the eyes of an eagle that eats dumb sheep for breakfast.”

Sep 08, 2013
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“..George Cubbins, handsome as a freshly opened tub of margarine, as charismatic as a wet tea towel lying scrumpled on the floor.”


Add Age Suitability

Oct 17, 2014
  • zackids rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

zackids thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Mar 03, 2014
  • navy_wolf_171 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

navy_wolf_171 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Sep 08, 2013
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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Mar 23, 2015
  • ChrysLeva86 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Lockwood and Co, a newly formed agency who eliminate Visitors, or ghosts that threaten the living, go out to investigate a mysterious figure in the Hopes' house. Using their Talents to sense ghosts, they find a corpse that leads to a murder case.Then, another client's haunted house pop up all of a sudden and it offers to fix their money problems. Will the trio make their way through the mystery of the Red Room or die like all others?

Sep 08, 2013
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

It all began with The Problem. One day, for no apparent reason, the dead started to walk amongst the living. Not just walk, but really wreak some serious havoc. Here are the facts of the matter. 1. If you see a ghost, run. 2. Don’t let a ghost touch you, or you’re dead. 3. Only kids can see ghosts. What are we to make of these facts? Well, it’s no surprise when ghost-busting operations hiring children start cropping up. Enter Lockwood & Company. Run by the charming Anthony Lockwood alongside his two compatriots Lucy and George the ramshackle operation is barely scraping by. Enter a job that goes particularly wrong when the kids accidentally burn down their employers’ home, and it would take a miracle to save the agency. Fortunately, a miracle shows up in the form of a very rich and powerful man. He’s hiring the three to take on the most haunted house in all of Britain. The catch? No one’s ever gotten out of it alive. Will our intrepid heroes take on the job, or is there more at work here than meets the eye?


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app08 Version ofelia Last updated 2015/03/23 12:01