Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Little Crooked Bookshelf

The Screaming Staircase 
Lockwood & Co. # 1
by Jonathan Stroud

What it's all about...
There is an epidemic of ghosts in Britain. Their touch brings death, and only children have the power to fight them. Lucy Carlyle, a young psychic investigator, joins London’s smallest agency, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood and his curmudgeonly cohort George.

When a case goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have a last chance of redemption. Unfortunately, this involves spending the night in the most haunted house in England, and trying to escape alive.

Why it's on The Little Crooked Bookshelf...
We were hooked on page one. Stroud manages to set the spooky tone of the story, establish the personalities of his characters and dive right into the action in a few perfectly crafted opening sentences. The book is by turns gripping, funny, and deliciously creepy.

Our favorite lines...
“When you go out hunting wicked spirits, it's the simple things that matter most. The silvered point of your rapier flashing in the dark; the iron filings scattered on the floor; the sealed canisters of best Greek Fire, ready as a last resort... But tea bags, brown and fresh and plenty of them, and made (for preference) by Pitkin Brothers of Bond Street, are perhaps the simplest and best of all.”

Why kids will love it...
It contains all the irresistible elements: mystery, danger, suspense, clever empowered children, a notable flouting of authority, humor and of course… plenty of bone chilling ghost encounters.

Why grown-ups will love it...
Stroud’s story has a timelessness that brings to mind other famous literary crime solvers such as Sherlock Holmes or Nancy Drew. Plus, he deftly manages to move the plot forward while treating readers to rich and colorful descriptions of a haunted London beset by supernatural terrors. Readers of all ages will be eager for the next book this series.

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