Lockwood and Co: The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud

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Lockwood and Co: The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: Thrilling, funny and scary from the very first lines, you'll be hard put to it to decide who are nastier, the dead people or the live ones!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 560 Date: September 2017
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780552575799

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In a world that takes the best and worst of Victorian times (atmospheric fogs, candles, mudlarks who scavenge along the banks of the Thames for treasures) and the modern day (leggings, skinny jeans, cabs and concrete underpasses) absolutely anything can happen – and it does. For fifty years ghosts of all kinds have infested Britain, and as only children and young people can see them, theirs is the task of protecting the adults and ridding the country of the menaces, one by painful one. Lucy, George, Holly and Lockwood are the members of the smallest and most ramshackle independent agency, but their constant success (and survival despite forever lengthening odds) is a thorn in the flesh of the elite Fittes Agency, which has acquired almost total control over the whole ghost-bashing business.

Faithful readers of this series (and if you aren't, why not?) will be familiar with Revenants, Shades, Stone Knockers and the like, and there's a handy glossary at the back of the book if you need to check out a few details. Our favourite, of course, is the skull in the jar, which only Lucy can hear. He sees no reason to hold back on his opinions, including colourful and inventive suggestions for murdering people who irritate him, and a cruel but accurate commentary on Lucy's love life – or rather, her lack of one. At times Lockwood treats her as someone special, sharing secrets about his past with her, but then he withdraws, apparently so resigned to an early and horrible death that he appears to be seeking it out. Inevitably, therefore, the anxiety which accompanies every job the agency takes on is heightened for poor Lucy as she tries to keep a close eye on her daredevil boss.

Plenty of spooky moments, then, but well-balanced with humour and light-hearted throw-away comments, especially about the portly, ill-kempt George. His agony when a client helps himself to the very last biscuit on the plate is classic! This – sadly – is the last book in the series, where all manner of secrets are at last uncovered, and the whole thing rattles along at breakneck speed, with ever more dangerous traps which at their height force our heroes to escape to the Other Side. There is more peril than ever before, and don't expect any guarantees that everyone at Lockwood will survive to the end of the book. Life as a member of a psychic investigations agency is risky at best, and the crowds of monuments to the young people who didn't make it through to adulthood tell their own story. So, grab a cup of tea (useful for warding off those freezing miasmas) and a doughnut or two (George permitting) and settle down for a gripping read which will have you laughing and gasping and groaning in equal measures. Enjoy!

Of course, you could read this book without the previous ones in the series, but why would you want to? Great characters, plenty of humour and some deliciously indulgent gruesomeness – what's not to like? Bookbag particularly enjoyed The Screaming Staircase, The Whispering Skull and The Hollow Boy. Fantastic!

Buy Lockwood and Co: The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lockwood and Co: The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud at Amazon.co.uk.

Buy Lockwood and Co: The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lockwood and Co: The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud at Amazon.com.


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