Lockwood & Co. by J. Stroud

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=Tamar

Sergeant
May 20, 2012
3,165
61
2,150
#1
Two books so far, at least one more to come.
The first one is The Screaming Staircase.
The second one is The Whispering Skull.

They are good solid YA for, my best guess is, 13 and up*, kids who have grown up with the modern tendency toward a bit of horror even in kids' books but not too much. (I have seen some that were way over the top in my opinion.)

Setting: Alternate universe in which the UK, and apparently only the UK, is having major ghost problems. They are not the tame, just-ignore-it kind of ghosts. Their touch is deadly. Only kids under 18 can perceive them, but everyone can be killed just by being touched by them. So all the intrepid ghost-killers are kids, who have to protect the adults who are their business managers and trainers. There is lots of action and only a moderate amount of Don'tgonearthecastle behavior.

The physical books are nicely produced and well copy-edited. The first one had an appealing cover picture; the second one was not to my taste. Luckily it doesn't show when the book is open.

ETA: * "and up" includes me at 66

=Tamar
 

=Tamar

Sergeant
May 20, 2012
3,165
61
2,150
#2
The third book is The Hollow Boy. The expected release date is Sept. 15, 2015 - next week, Tuesday to be exact.
I have not read it, but the online information and official teasers/sneak peeks indicate that it should be up to standard.
Again, I'm not fond of the US cover. I'm not sure whether I'd prefer the UK cover, but it's less overtly gruesome.
Stroud said that he expects to write at least a fourth book, possibly a fifth one.
 

Catch-up

Sergeant-at-Arms
Jul 26, 2008
7,536
22
2,850
Michigan, U.S.A.
#3
Thanks for pointing these out! I'll have to put them on my list. Is this the same author who wrote the Bartimaeus books?
 

=Tamar

Sergeant
May 20, 2012
3,165
61
2,150
#4
Yes, Stroud wrote the Bartimaeus series. He also wrote Heroes of the Valley, another good YA novel.
 

=Tamar

Sergeant
May 20, 2012
3,165
61
2,150
#5
The Hollow Boy introduces a change in tone. The main characters are teenagers, so I guess it's reasonable that they don't always behave sensibly. I'm a little annoyed because I'm still not happy about how Fforde switched book 3 of his series into the beginning of a to-be-continued story instead of a single-book story with some closure. Stroud takes characterization a little deeper in The Hollow Boy and while the story proper has plenty of action and a solid solution to the plot problem, there's a strong hook for the next volume. I'm worried that Stroud is going the way of Fforde. I hope he hasn't written himself in to a corner. I guess I'll find out when the next book comes out, probably in two years. *sigh.*
 

=Tamar

Sergeant
May 20, 2012
3,165
61
2,150
#6
Lockwood #4, The Creeping Shadow, sees the temporary return of a character and the recruiting of several others to Lockwood's tiny ghost-removal agency. It has more and darker skulduggery, and I'm fairly sure it has more explosions. It's a good segment of the story, but although there is a reasonably satisfying conclusion, the sequel hook is quite large. The next book is supposed to be the closing episode.
Edit to add: It is possible that we've now had our first real clues to the reason only the UK has been having such a severe ghost problem.
 

=Tamar

Sergeant
May 20, 2012
3,165
61
2,150
#7
Lockwood #5, the conclusion, The Empty Grave, is scheduled for release Sept 12, 2017. The cover pictures have been released. The UK artist seems to have put Lockwood in mascara and lipstick.
 

=Tamar

Sergeant
May 20, 2012
3,165
61
2,150
#8
I am now halfway through Lockwood #5, The Empty Grave, the final book in the series. The usual things are not usual any more. The corporate takeover and shutdown of the independent ghost-removal companies is almost complete, even as there are more and more ghosts appearing, and yet the plague appears to be confined mostly to the UK.
I am puzzled by Barnes and Noble's "system" of arranging books. I found this one deep in the very young children's department, near the seating area for toddlers. Several characters are teenagers and at least one minor character is twenty, which ordinarily would put the book firmly in YA.

ETA: Finished reading. I like the ending. The only barrier to making a TV series would be the age of the characters, but on the whole I'm glad it's unlikely to happen.
 

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