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Constable & Toop Hardcover – October 8, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
Every building needs a ghost so each one has one trapped inside. Without a resident ghost, a building a taken over by the Black Rot which sucks in unsuspecting ghosts and keeps them trapped for eternity. While the Black Rot is bad for ghosts, it is quite unnerving to the living as well.
Meet the undertaker's son who can see and talk to ghosts as he joins forces with ghosts in battling the black rot and restore order to both the world of the living and the world of the dead.
This story is full of humor and suspense. It's a book that will remind you of why you ever began to love reading in the first place; the joy of a dared good story. A wonderful ghost story for grown-ups.
I loved it.
I knew I was in good hands when this cute little MG opened with a girl having her throat slit in a back alley. Yes, real throat, actual slittage. Though violent, the scene is not gratuitous and ends up being important later on in the plot. We’re still trying to find out what’s going on when the narrative jumps to the “true” beginning in a tiny office in the center of the Ghost Bureau where paperwork drone Lapsewood dutifully tries to wade through the bureaucratic nonsense that comes with ghostly living. His supervisor, a legless(!) blowhard named Colonel Penhaligan reassigns him to the Housing Department as an attempt to shake up his routine. Lapsewood, to his quavering dismay, is tasked with entering the real world to find an Outreach Worker who went to check up on the ghostly residents of haunted houses in London and vanished. Lapsewood soon discovers that the problem is much larger than one missing worker – a ghost-gobbling plague is devouring his fellows and may soon destroy all on London.
First off, let me say that I LOVED Lapsewood. If you’re looking for a likeable character with noticeable growth throughout a story, he’s your man. Erm, ghost. Shy, retiring, and orderly, Lapsewood wants nothing more than to spend the rest of his ghostly existence finishing paperwork and secretly pining for Penhaligan’s beautiful secretary, Alice. Instead, he’s thrust into the sensory overload that is London to hunt down a deadly threat to all ghostkind, and he does marvelously.Read more ›
But this is a long and exhausting book. It's not because it is overstuffed with incident or plot complications, or anything like that. It is long because everything goes on for more than it needs to. We don't walk down one described street, we walk down three. Before we go in to an office we have to describe the reception area and meet the receptionist. Every conversation has a few unnecessary exchanges that don't really contribute to the story.
That's fine - it helps build atmosphere and illuminate character. It adds to the Victorianness of it all. But it also tries the patience and saps momentum. That might not matter that much, except this is aimed to be a middle grade read. I may be way off base here; I'm sure there are fifth and sixth graders willing to read over 400 pages of clever, whimsical, very Victorian ghost adventure, but there are also such readers who might just run out of steam or interest. It's not a deal breaker, but something to keep in mind when recommending this title.
The plot and nefarious characters are a little shallow, the catharsis a little convenient but the book is ostensibly written for younger audiences (geared towards 6 - 8th graders I would guess). That said, I enjoyed the story and the characters immensely - a breezy, light read that was entertaining. Highly recommended for its target audience; adult readers may also enjoy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A fascinating and unique 'urban fantasy' set in Victorian England. A great take on the whole "speaking with the dead" thing with a mix of red tape bureaucracy one would... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Matt Jackson
I would second every comment I've seen about how clever the story is, how well plotted, how amusing, and how creative. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Pop Bop
I was initially attracted to this book's interesting and unusually attractive cover art, which is poorly reproduced in the photograph above. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Molly Grue
Very well written humorous ghost story. Set in Victorian London, where the ghosts are disappearing due to something called the Black Rot. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Ms. Discontent
Phenomenal book! LOVED the concept of the story. I read this sooo fast because it was awesome.Published on July 30, 2014 by shannon tornoe
This was a very delightful and wonderfully written book. While I love books on paranormal and anything about ghosts, this book put a new twist on "haunting". Read morePublished on February 2, 2014 by Jump Into Books
It was a really good book and I highly recommend it. I am 10 years old and it is a perfect book for my age.Published on January 23, 2014 by Mark Grebener
Set in the seedier side of Victorian London, this story follows two characters, Lapsewood, a ghost office clerk from the other side and young Sam Toop, who works alongside his... Read morePublished on January 8, 2014 by rose burdick