Jonathan Stroud’s latest book is a thrilling fantasy set in England in which ghosts roam the nights. Only the very young can see, hear, or otherwise sense spirits. As children near puberty, abilities to see or hear spirits surface, and they are thereby trained and employed by businesses whose sole purpose is to identify and detain or destroy the spirits. As teenagers age into young adulthood, their powers of detection fade, leaving whole corps of preteens and teens to carry out the work, risking their lives in the process.
Anthony Lockwood has no intention of toiling away for a company, barely scraping by. Orphaned, rich, and extraordinarily talented, Lockwood has joined up with George Cubbins to start his own firm, Lockwood & Co. Having recently relocated to London, Lucy Carlyle joins his agency, adding a rare talent neither of the boys possesses. They set out to make their name by solving run-of-the-mill hauntings. A bit of luck, both good and bad, leads the troupe to Combe Carey Hall, the most haunted place in all of England. Striving to make a reputation that allows him to compete with well-established, larger institutions Lockwood agrees to the job, despite serious the reservations of his cohorts. The threesome quickly realizes more than the supernatural is at work in trying to bring about their demise. At times thrilling, scary and funny, this is an entertaining new series. I’m eagerly awaiting a second book in the series.