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Lockwood & Co. The Screaming Staircase Hardcover – September 17, 2013

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Series: Lockwood & Co. (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion; First Edition edition (September 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423164911
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423164913
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6-9–Lucy Carlyle relates the exploits of the teenage ghost-hunting agency, Lockwood & Co. The world is still reeling from an infestation of malevolent, deadly ghosts that can only be detected by Talented youngsters with rare psychic sensitivities. Anthony Lockwood heads his three-person team, including Lucy and George Cubbins, in their efforts to defeat the evil spirits–and remain solvent. A minor haunting that turns into a major problem leads Lockwood & Co. to a brooding mansion that has already claimed the lives of more experienced ghost hunters. Combe Carey Hall is “the most haunted private house in England… an ugly oppressive mongrel of a building,” and the trio quickly realizes that the dangers they face have human as well as supernatural sources. Authentically spooky events occur in an engagingly crafted, believable world, populated by distinct, colorful personalities. The genuinely likable members of Lockwood & Co. persevere through the evil machinations of the living and the dead and manage to come out with their skins, and their senses of humor, intact. This smart, fast-paced ghostly adventure promises future chills.–Janice M. Del Negro, GSLIS Dominican University, River Forest, ILα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Fifty years after the Problem began in London, it has slowly spread through the country. The public dreads Visitors, malevolent ghosts that can be directly sensed only by children. Young Lucy Carlyle joins Anthony Lockwood and George Cubbins to become Lockwood & Co., three kids using rapiers, iron chains, and magnesium fire to handle Visitors. After they bungle a job by inadvertently burning down a house, their company faces imminent ruin. Their last hope of saving it involves accepting a dicey assignment in one of England’s most haunted houses. Despite the necessary time spent framing the series, Stroud ratchets up the tension considerably when the trio goes to work. Still, the most satisfying parts of the book concern the three intriguing main characters and the dynamics of their not-quite-comfortable relationship. Best known for the Bartimaeus books, beginning with The Amulet of Samarkand (2003), Stroud writes for a younger audience in book one of the Lockwood & Co. series and delivers some chilling scenes along the way. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY - Stroud made many fans with the Bartimaeus books, and his even though this is for a younger audience, his name carries weight with librarians, teachers, and parents. Grades 4-7. --Carolyn Phelan

More About the Author

Jonathan Stroud ( is the author of the New York Times best-selling Bartimaeus Trilogy, as well as Heroes of the Valley, The Leap, The Last Siege, and Buried Fire. He lives in England with his family.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 148 customer reviews
The characters are interesting, the story is compelling, and the suspense is palpable.
J. Green
Overall, this book was a lot of fun and I really recommend it if you enjoy young adult, paranormal, or action/thrillers.
I read this book in a single sitting, and was thoroughly engrossed in the characters and the plot.
P. Zack

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Tsundoku Reviews on September 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Brief Summary: Lockwood, Lucy, and George comprise the ghost exorcising agency called Lockwood & Co., the only ghost agency run by teenagers. Struggling to keep their company afloat, they take on dangerous assignment after dangerous assignment, straining their talents to the max. One burned down house, one mysterious locket, and one looming conspiracy later, they may have uncovered something lurking in London's past that is more evil than they could have ever imagined.

The Tsundoku Scale: Top of the Pile, 10 out of 10.

The Good: Jonathan Stroud excels at making books that possess really great, exemplary dark humor, and The Screaming Staircase is no exception. So many books labeled dark humor end up unable to toe the line, and come off either more dark than funny (Gulliver's Travels) or almost too funny for its dark subject matter (The Book of Bunny Suicides), but Stroud has that deadpan British humor perfected, and it's a joy to read. This is a grisly, dystopian world Stroud is depicting where teenage kids have pretty much no choice but to exorcise dangerous ghosts for a living--ghosts that are likely to kill them. And yet the comedy is spot on, like when Lockwood & Co. burn down their client's entire house when trying to exorcise one little, though rather strong, ghost. (To put that in perspective, imagine a rodent exterminator burning down your house to remove a few rodents.) Or, for instance, there's the fact that George, Lockwood & Co's brilliant albeit cantankerous researcher often conducts his experiments on ghosts while taking a bath in the nude. Basically, Lockwood & Co are a bumbling, comic bunch of professional ghost killers that are always one step away from disaster, kind of like the Mystery Inc.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ian Beck on September 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jonathan Stroud is one of my favorite children's fantasy authors, and Lockwood & Co does nothing to disappoint. His Bartimeus trilogy is one of my all-time favorite children's book fantasy series (I know this is heretical for people in my generation, but I'd rank it above Harry Potter--partially because the seventh Harry Potter retroactively tainted the series for me, partially because Bartimeus is so deliciously snarky, and mainly because of the elegance with which Stroud wraps up the third and final book), and although I was a little leery of Lockwood & Co when I first read the description ("Ghosts? Really?") I pre-ordered it and was lucky enough to receive it a day early! (It pays to live a few blocks away from one of Amazon's fulfillment centers sometimes.)

I eagerly devoured the entire thing in a day, and would not be surprised if Lockwood & Co eventually turns into another of my favorite children's fantasy series (although the story wraps up beautifully, it is strongly hinted at the end of the book that there will be more to come). Ghosts may have seemed a strange choice in subject matter to me initially, but I had forgotten how well Stroud handles horror: he doesn't focus on explicitly horrific subject matter in any of his other books that I've read, but the horror scenes in Heroes of the Valley, and particularly the grave robbing scene in The Golem's Eye (second book of the Bartimeus Trilogy), are some exquisitely executed horror that should have tipped me off to the fact that Lockwood & Co is a natural place for him to end up.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Casey on January 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The world that we know and are familiar with no longer exists. The street lights come on well before night fall and continue shining until the day breaks again. Adults stay afraid and the children of the world become the only hope for survival. You see, something has happened in the world, and the dead don't stay dead for long, at least the bodies stay dead. The spirits, however, can't seem to stay away.

The Problem began and now children everywhere are the front line, the ones fighting ghosts, specters, and scary things in general. Even though the kids are doing all the intensive, frightening, labor intensive type things that involve the dispelling of the more sinister apparitions, the adults still try to control them. That's where Lockwood and Co comes in, the only adult free psychic investigations unit in London.

Lucy Carlyle shows up on the Lockwood and Co. doorstep for her seventh interview in seven days. Her last job, thanks to the adult who chose not to listen and to Lucy's own mistake of not listening to her own instincts, did not end well, so she's in London trying to start fresh. Anthony Lockwood, young and determined to prove himself in this adult driven worlds, hires Lucy on the spot because of her special talents.

Lucy, who can truly hear, Lockwood, who can truly see, and George, a disgusting slob with the inclinations of a scientist, are the three individuals who might just be able to make a name for themselves. Through a series of mis-adventures, Lockwood, George, and Lucy end up on a daring mission in one of the most severely haunted homes in all of England. Where others have failed, how will three kids be successful against such foes?
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