We Shelf-Dwellers love Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co series.
We know it.
You know it.
Let’s just accept it as fact and move on.
If you haven’t had a crack at this series yet and you are a fan of paranormal, ghost hunting books, you are missing out. Enough said. We jumped at the chance to review book four in the series – The Creeping Shadow – when it was offered by the publisher via Netgalley (even though we haven’t got to book three yet), and here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
Lucy has left Lockwood & Co. A freelance operative, she is hiring herself out to other agencies – agencies that might value her ever-improving skills.
But now Lockwood needs her help.
Penelope Fittes, leader of the well-renowned Fittes Agency wants Lockwood & Co. – and only them – to locate and remove the ‘Source’ for the legendary Brixton Cannibal.
It’s a tough assignment. Made worse by the tensions between Lucy and the other agents – even the skull is treating her like a jilted lover!
What will it take to reunite the team? Black marketeers, an informant ghost, a Spirit Cape that transports the wearer, and mysteries involving their closest rivals may just do the trick.
But not all is at it seems. And it’s not long before a shocking revelation rocks Lockwood & Co. to its very core . . .
*There may be spoilers here from book two and beyond. Read at your own risk*
I think this is the most intriguing book of the series so far (although, admittedly, I haven’t read the third book yet – The Hollow Boy), with Lucy’s relationship with Lockwood & Co being first and foremost in the mind of the reader the whole way through. Having skipped straight to book four when opportunity arose meant that I haven’t been privy to the events of book three in which Lucy parts ways with Lockwood & Co and strikes out on her own as a freelance operative, ably aided by the skull in a jar. Even though it’s obvious that book three dealt with some pretty major events, I didn’t feel particularly out of the loop here because essentially, all the reader needs to know is that (a) Lucy left Lockwood & Co and (b) the skull played a part in this leaving.
The early chapters of the book have a distinct air of melancholy about them as Lucy spends most of her time, when not freelancing for various sub-par agencies, alone in her bedsit with the skull, which, I’m sure we can all agree, is a bit depressing really. It’s obvious that she misses the team, but feels that she must stay away for the greater good of everyone and Lockwood particularly. Soon enough though, excitement kicks off as Lockwood invites Lucy back for a one-off job that quickly turns into a second job and so on. The initial two ghost hunts (involving a historical witch and a seriously creepy cannibal serial killer) are particularly atmospheric and frightening. The unexpected inclusion of Quill Kipps – ex-Fittes agency smug git and Lockwood & Co antagonist from way back – adds a new dimension to the tale as the team swells to five members, all of whom seem to have a bit of a beef (or at least a niggling irritation) with at least one of the other members.
There are some amazing reveals at the end of the story that I didn’t see coming and these will certainly be of great interest in the fifth (and final, apparently – booooo!) installment when it is released. I won’t spoil any of the action for you, but the final hunt for the team involves a seriously haunted village that seems to be experiencing a sort of plague of ghosts, ever since a well-known research institute moved in down the road. If you count the skull as the sixth member of the team – which Lucy obviously does – it is apparent that all six members will need every ounce of their wits about them for the next book, due to a “warning” (read: threat) from one of the top folks in the ghost hunting field, as well as a shocking tidbit of information that gets dropped just pages before the end.
The Creeping Shadow is simultaneously more of the same from the Lockwood & Co gang and the potential for fascinating new directions, so I am definitely looking forward to the final book in the series. Now I just have to go back and read book three before number five is released.
Until next time,