By Shelley Fallows
It was a sunny, autumnal evening and the visitors of Daunt Bookshop in Chelsea gathered together to celebrate with author Jonathan Stroud the publication of the 3rd title in his rather wonderful Lockwood & Co series. Thankfully supplies of salt, iron, lavender or rapiers were not required as the ghosts (for the time being) were safely captured within the pages of Stroud’s books.
I have to admit that I hadn’t encountered the strange, spooky world of Lockwood & Co until we recently shared the first title in the series, The Screaming Staircase, with our review panel members. They enjoyed it immensely and the series has been highly rated by our very own Andrea Reece. My interest was ignited. I am however, rather easily scared and so it was with some apprehension that I began reading The Screaming Staircase as I travelled by train to the launch party. I needn’t have worried because although suitably spooky, Jonathan writes with such skill that I was eagerly turning the pages to discover what happens next. It was with some surprise that I looked up in what seemed only moments after my journey began to discover the train arriving at Victoria.
A book launch is great fun. Not only do you actually get to meet the author, if you’re really lucky you may also experience the delight of hearing them read from the book itself. There is something very special about hearing an author read their own words. Jonathan was the perfect host, reading us a snippet from his latest instalment, The Hollow Boy (published on the 24th Sept) and then taking the time to sign books and meet everyone who had arrived.
I met many wonderful book lovers, authors and bloggers. A young booklover called Toby was immediately absorbed in his copy of The Hollow Boy in a quiet corner of the bookshop. I told him I had just begun reading The Screaming Staircase and he informed me that although it was great, he thought The Whispering Skull (book 2) was the best. The evening was a great success and it was with some trepidation that I headed out into the night and made my way back to Victoria Station. Once upon the train my nose was once more deeply absorbed in The Screaming Staircase making my walk home from the station (in the dark!) rather exciting to say the least. Thoughts of Spectre’s, Wraiths and Raw-bones filled my head and it was a relief when I finally unlocked my front door and retreated inside.
I have to say I have enjoyed The Screaming Staircase immensely, it is an absorbing, exciting story for kids and adults alike. Lockwood is a very endearing, enigmatic hero and I just loved our feisty narrator, Lucy Carlyle. There is also a sneak peek of the 2nd book in the series The Whispering Skull at the end which is now very firmly on my ‘to buy’ list (thanks for the recommendation Toby) and I can’t wait to read it. Ah, isn’t it wonderful when you discover a new series…