Early Book Review: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

The Screaming Staircase is the first book in a new children's series by Jonathan Stroud. It is currently scheduled for release on September 17 2013. The action takes place in historic London, where all nature of ghosts have made themselves known. Not only do the spirits seem to be unfriendly, they can be quite deadly. Only young people have the sensitivities necessary to see, and remove, these supernatural foes. Several different Psychic Detection Agencies have formed, and are fiercely competitive. In The Screaming Staircase, after leaving her old firm under less than pleasant circumstances Lucy Carlyle joins Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end; Lucy, Anthony, and George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall’s legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day?

The Screaming Staircase was a good start to a new series. Lucy, Anthony, and George all have back-stories that I would like to see more of, and I am interested to see how they can come together as a team despite some personality differences. When I started the book, I will admit to feeling a bit like I missed a prequel or previous book, but by the end of the story the world seemed much more complete to me. I liked the unique take on ghost hunting, and the tools and gifts that could be used to fight them. The idea felt fresh and different, even to a girl that has read many an adult paranormal novel about hunting the things that go bump in the night.

I do not think that The Screaming Staircase will be lacking for eager readers. I expect that Stroud's fans will flock to this new series, and will be happy with what they find. Children in elementary and middle school that enjoy adventure, action, suspense, and a good scare or two will greatly enjoy Stroud's new series. I think that adults and teens just might find some fun here too.
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