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REVIEW: Lockwood & Co: The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud

After the brilliant Bartimaeus sequence, Jonathan Stroud is back with another winner

 

Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus books are the stuff of legend –  brilliant modern fantasy writing for kids that entertains effortlessly while still managing to be clever and funny. But all good things come to an end, and after five great books in the series, Stroud is moving on to pastures new.

Lockwood & Co focuses on a group of psychic detectives – Anthony Lockwood, Lucy Carlyle and and George Cubbins – whose job is to sort out the troublemakers of the spirit world. There are more than a dozen of these agencies operating in Stroud’s parallel London where kids provide the ‘talent’ to track down the nasties. Lockwood and Co may not be the biggest agency in town, but what they lack in size they make up for in all kinds of other devious ways.  

There’s a dark, macabre air to these books that Stroud handles with an expert touch, perfectly balancing the supernatural with witty repartee and serpentine plots (no one could ever accuse Stroud of dumbing down). After The Screaming Staircase, our trio is back with a second instalment to sort out a seriously creepy talking skull trapped inside a glass jar. Ghost-busting has never been more engrossing. Corgi, age: 10+

 

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