Author: Jonathan Stroud, 2013.
Genre: Young Adult. Urban Fantasy. Ghosts.
Other Details: ebook. 567 pages.
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. Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. - synopsis from UK publisher's website.
This was my first Jonathan Stroud book and I enjoyed it very much. The tale is narrated by Lucy and begins with the case that goes horribly wrong and then tracks back to give background on Lucy as well as how she came to work for Lockwood and Co.. The central premise is that there is a growing epidemic of hauntings throughout Britain that can have deadly consequences to those who come into direct contact with the ghosts. This has led to strict curfews, special ghost lamps as well as specialist agencies to deal with the deadly hauntings.
Stroud does not pin his story to a particular date though it is assumed to be contemporary with the changes taking place 50 years ago. I started off listening to this on my Audible edition while at the gym but this was a rather slow way so get through such an engaging novel so I switched to its Kindle edition.
I am planning to read the second book and was pleased to see that at least two more are in the pipeline. I appreciated the glossary of ghosts and hauntings at the end.