murder

Book Review: The Screaming Staircase

screaming staircaseI can’t remember the last time I read a book this fast. And by fast I mean it took me less than 24 hours from start to finish. I don’t even think I read Illusion this quickly, but that could have also been that I didn’t want it to end. With this book, I didn’t have to wait for it to get interesting, it just was. Something that I find very attractive in my reading!

Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase is the first in a new series of books that grips you tight and doesn’t let you go. Think “Supernatural” mixed with “Sherlock”, only make the main characters ten years younger and give them rapiers; that’s about the sum of this novel. In the best way possible.

I was enjoying the plot and backstory so much that I didn’t even care that there was no explanation of what or where the “screaming staircase” was until I was over 200 pages into the story. It was such an effortless plot blend of current and past events that doubled-back on themselves that I was completely immersed in the tale before I even realized what was happening.

Lucy is our leading lady and narrator and she is accompanied by the over-zealous and cheerful Lockwood and the grating but highly intelligent George. The threesome make up Lockwood & Co. and they take on ghosts in London. The business isn’t doing very well after a fire that destroys a clients house, leaving Lockwood to foot the bill.

So of course, before long the three are mired up to their eyeballs in trouble and mischief. There is a locket and a murder and some really creepy ghostly behavior that trips them up.The team has its issues and strengths and of course, some entertaining bickering and a love of doughnuts.

The writing is fantastic, the plot flows very well, and the main characters’ banter is vastly entertaining. I think I will need to take a break from being creeped out to read the next one but I will definitely keep it on my TBR list!

Goodreads rating: 5 stars

Personal rating total: 92

  • Writing style – 10
  • Plot – 10
  • Dialogue -10
  • Personality of Main Character(s) – 10
  • Love story* – 5
  • Invokes emotion (mostly fear) – 8
  • Synopsis accuracy – 9
  • Consistent level of interest – 10
  • Stays on topic – 10
  • Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 10

*In this case, it wasn’t a main plot point, but the hidden love of Lockwood for his parents, and Lucy for her family, plus the murderer for his victim…

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Death in Books

Do you ever find yourself stuck in a particular genre with no idea how you ended up there?

Lately that genre for me, in the broadest of terms, is death.

It started out innocently enough. A murder mystery caught my eye at the library and when I discovered it was the 5th book in the series, I decided to give the first book a try. (Well if I’m being perfectly honest, it started with “Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn but that scared the crap out of me and gave me nightmares so I needed something infinitely lighter to take its place in my imagination.)

After journeying into the world of the Blackbird sisters (“How to Murder a Millionaire” by Nancy Martin), I quickly discovered that I loved the intrigue of it. This comes from a girl who doesn’t much care for serial cop dramas like CSI or NCIS. I continued to flick through the second novel in rapid pace and soon I decided to dive into something deeper.

I am a relative fan of Koontz, though he is usually too dark for me. I loved his Odd Thomas series and the random books I have read by him over the years. So I gave “The Darkest Evening of the Year” a go. And proceeded to creep myself out. I went back to the Blackbird Sisters for comfort, humor, and drama without as much gore or terror.

Then things got a little steamy (and weird) as I read the first Chrissy McMullen murder mystery book “Unzipped”. A little bit more intense than Martin’s series but nothing I couldn’t handle so I decided to go out on a limb and try another book, this time historical fiction.

The library really does offer a great selection if you know what to look for, and I found Stefan Petrucha’s “Ripper”. As you might guess, the novel focuses on Jack the Ripper, however in this version he has actually escaped London and come to America in disguise. How intriguing! A little bloody, a heart-pounding plot and several disturbing deaths were found in these pages.

After enjoying this book, I stepped into “Horns” by Joe Hill and disturbing took on a whole new meaning, and so did the devil. A brilliantly written work that captured my attention and didn’t let go. Ig was a unique character and his journey was both human and divine. Although the pathway gave me the chills on more than one occasion. At the same time, I also decided it would be a good idea to read “The End Games” by T. Michael Martin and that turned out to be a very poor decision. Not because I disliked the book but because the story of two brothers on the run from the zombie apocalypse made me cringe in several ways, especially when I was reading it home alone at night.

And now I’m onto a whole new realm of death and dismemberment in the form of two different books: “Machine of Death” and “Reviver”. The first is a collection of stories revolving around a machine that can tell you how you will die and the various reactions and interactions that people have to that. It’s humorous in some ways but also quite dark if you really think about it. Not a depressing sort of dark but a make-you-think-about-life kind of dark. I’ve actually been enjoying it but I had to put it down yesterday because it was making me wonder a little too much about my own mortality.

“Reviver” is a work by a new author, Seth Patrick, about two men whose lives revolve around and are mired in death. One is a Reviver who can bring the recently deceased back to life for a brief period to help solve the mystery of their murder or death. And the other is a depressed journalist who discovered the original Reviver who is murdered. So far, it is a little gut-churning for my personal taste but very well written.

What is my recent borderline obsession with death and murder? It makes very little sense to me as I have a very active imagination and can’t even watch scary movies without making myself want to cry (or pee my pants). Don’t get me wrong, I have also enjoyed other works recently but so far it has been a parade of either fantasy or death and I can’t quite figure out why.

What I’m Reading

Hey All! Check out what’s on my currently reading shelf! I’ve had some recent great finds that I am absolutely loving. Bored with your usual list? Go wander around a library for a bit. I always find inspiration there. And if you love to read and don’t yet have Goodreads then you are seriously missing out. More accurate than Amazon and absolutely free, you can connect with your friends and track all the books you’ve read, are currently reading, and track down some new titles that you want to read!

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I’ve been on a real murder-mystery kick lately, as I’m sure you can tell from the above titles. But I just can’t seem to put them down! A year ago, I never would have thought I would be into this genre. Just goes to show that trying new things can open up new worlds.