This is the first book I have read by this author, although I know that he is well-established, having written the Bartimaeus sequence of novels and a number of others. It was the cover which drew me to this one whilst I was browsing around Waterstones about a year ago. I had a flick through it and placed it on my 'to be read' list and I finally got around to it over Christmas. I'm so glad that I did. From the first page the reader is drawn deftly and cleverly into a well-drawn world of teenage ghost-hunting with darkness and humour in equal measures.
The book is written through the eyes of Lucy who is a young ghost-hunter with special talents. This surprised me at first as I had expected the viewpoint character to be Anthony Lockwood, given the title of the series, but it worked extremely well. Lucy interacts closely with Lockwood, together with a third agent, and the reader therefore sees these characters through her eyes and all three of the teenagers are central to the story.
A sinister atmosphere of spookiness and mystery is established quickly at the outset and the style of writing is extremely accomplished whilst being accessible. For me, every aspect of this book delivered strongly: from vivid characterisation to a plot more complex and satisfying than I was anticipating to the detailed world-building involved in setting up an England in which different types of ghosts roam free after sunset and are hunted by talented children. It is lively, funny and chilling with wonderful attention to detail. I will definitely be reading the rest of the series and would recommend it as an original and gripping read. For those of you interested in categorisation - this is not a book aimed at grown-ups, although it is definitely one that many adults would enjoy. (When it comes to categorisations for books for middle grade and teens, I get confused but I think that this probably falls within the 10 plus range, although I've noticed a review or two on Amazon suggesting that 10 might be a little young - I wouldn't like to say as I suppose it depends on the child).
With 85 out of 87 Amazon reviews giving this book 4 or 5 stars (the majority give it 5), I am clearly not alone in appreciating the work of this imaginative and talented writer.
I love most types of fiction - crime, mystery, fantasy. Oh, and historical fiction of course and middle-grade books and, well, you get the picture.
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