Bookends Fan Club: Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co.

Lynn: Being a reviewer and blogger is the best job ever, but there are a few drawbacks. We get so many books (I know, tough problem, right?), and keeping up can be challenging. What often happens is that sometimes later books in series get postponed till. . . well, later, and sometimes never. So it says a lot when I find myself raving about a fourth book in a series. Lockwood & Co is that series, and The Creeping Shadow (2016) is that book.

The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud

So why am I just now writing about a book that came out last fall? Blame it on the original members of the focus group. They are huge fans of Lockwood & Co., and they are the ones who alerted me to the fact that the book was already out! When it arrived, I nobly gave it to them to read first. They were finishing their eighth-grade year with lots of high-school classes and activities, so it took a long while for them both to read it, especially because they also loaned it to two other friends. All the while, they taunted me with comments about how good it was, and when they finally handed it back to me, they demanded I read it immediately so we could talk about the ending.

Well, I read it in one gulp—and yes, the ending is a huge cliff-hanger! Stroud is a master, and his latest series couldn’t be better. His ghost-ridden world just gets richer and more fascinating. The character development, always exquisitely nuanced, has deepened, and my grandsons and I talk about the protagonists as if they were old friends. It is a brilliant structure! Clues to the overarching mystery—known as “the Problem”— are teased out, while the individual cases the company tackles provide a great deal of suspense and intrigue. We cannot wait for book five, The Empty Grave. Thank goodness it is due out in September. This time, I’m going to read it first.

Cindy: Count me in as a fan, too, but a slower one than even Lynn! I enjoy listening to these titles on audio, but I’m only through book two, The Whispering Skull. The humor and the horror are handled well in the audio versions, as is the snarky repartee between Lucy, George, and Lockwood. I need to get listening to catch up!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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