Reader Reviewed Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

The Lovereading4Kids comment

Jonathan Stroud is a master storyteller who keeps you hanging on to every spine-tingling word. You’ll be hooked long before you turn the final page of The Screaming Staircase, the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again...

Every evening the sound of the warning bell marks the beginning of curfew and people all over the city retreat to the safety of their homes. Security is of the utmost importance and salt, lavender and iron are now household staples. Adults are no longer sensitive enough to deal with the strange, malignant hauntings a part of everyday life. So it is down to the young to keep the city's residents safe. Meet the enigmatic Anthony Lockwood and his associates Lucy Carlyle and George Gubbins of A.J. Lockwood & Co. Investigators. A small agency, run without the interference of adults, they consider themselves to be the best. However, after a disastrous encounter with a deadly girl ghost, the agency is in danger of closing down. Will solving an old Missing Persons investigation and spending a terrifying night in the most haunted house in the country save them? Maybe, if of course, they are lucky enough to come away with their lives.

Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Jamie Bamford, age 11 - 'You can’t put down The Screaming Staircase.  You instantly feel part of it.  The characters’ fears are your fears; their happiness is your happiness; you see what they see.  Recommend for brave 9+.'
  • Sam Harper, age 11 - 'Like Ghostbusters with an extra dimension, there’s action, twists, turns and mystery. The Screaming Staircase was impossible to put down.'
  • Kevin Goodall - 'With a puzzling murder story to solve they will have to use all of their brains to get out alive or die like the last team that went in did. I can't wait for the next book to come out.'
  • Poppy Milburn, age 10 - 'This book involves so much energy, excitement and fear. You actually feel that you are entering the book, feeling all the characters' emotions for yourself.'
  • Daisy Pritchard-Williams, age 11 - 'I highly recommend it to readers over 9 because for anyone younger it would be scary.'
  • Amelia Corrick-Gough, age 14 - 'This book kept me on the edge of my seat, and is all I can think about! I love this book! I can't say a bad word about it. In my opinion, this book is up there with the Harry Potter series.'
  • Cora Willans, age 9 - 'I would say this book should be read by confident readers only as it was a fairly scary book.'
  • Edward Bailey, age 10 - 'A cracking read! Jonathan has really outdone himself! It couldn't be better!'
  • Jenna Welch, age 10 - 'This hair-raising book chilled me to the bone but surprisingly contained a rather large amount of sarcastic humour.'
  • Callum Broomfield - 'I couldn’t put this book down and ended up reading it late into the night. The ideas were great and the book was well written with a good pace and strong, well-drawn characters and I would look forward to reading a second book by Jonathan Stroud.'
  • Traviss Chaytors, age 12 - 'Absolutely brilliant… but do not read on your own just before bedtime!'
  • Rose Hopkins - 'Lockwood & Co is funny and scary at the same time – the perfect mix. I love the ghost buster theme and it has a wonderful twist.'
  • Llew Harrison, age 8 - 'The action starts straight away and I was gripped until the very end. This is the spookiest book I have ever read but it is also very funny. So read if you dare!'


Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in...For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions. Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

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This story will keep you reading late into the night, but you'll want to leave the lights on. Stroud is a genius at inventing an utterly believable world which is very much like ours, but so creepily different. Put The Screaming Staircase on your 'need to read list. Rick Riordan

A heartily satisfying string of entertaining near -catastrophes, replete with narrow squeaks and spectral howls Kirkus The book is genuinely spooky and suspenseful, with appealing characters and great dialogue, and all shot through with Stroud's dry wit. Guardian Stroud (the Bartimaeus series) shows his customary flair for blending deadpan humor with thrilling action, and the fiery interplay among the three agents of Lockwood & Co. invigorates the story (along with no shortage of creepy moments). Publishers Weekly

In a world overrun by evil spooks, can Paranormal Detection Agency Lockwood & Co do anything about the ghostly problems besetting London? Suspenseful, supernatural adventure. Metro

About the Author

Jonathan Stroud

Jonathan Stroud was our Guest Editor in November 2010. Click here to see his selection of titles.

Jonathan Stroud was born in Bedford and grew up in St Albans. He studied at York university. He has a strong background in children's books - working at Walker, in their Game Book and Non-Fiction departments and Kingfisher Publications, editing children's non-fiction. He has written and edited a number of game books and non-fiction titles for Walker Books. Jonathan lives in St. Albans with his wife.

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Book Info


480 pages
Interest Age: From 9


Jonathan Stroud
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Corgi Childrens an imprint of Random House Children's Publishers UK

Publication date

3rd July 2014




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