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The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. Series #2)
     

The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. Series #2)

4.9 12
by Jonathan Stroud
 

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In the six months since Anthony, Lucy, and George survived a night in the most haunted house in England, Lockwood & Co. hasn't made much progress. Quill Kipps and his team of Fittes agents keep swooping in on Lockwood's investigations. Finally, in a fit of anger, Anthony challenges his rival to a contest: the next time the two agencies compete on a job, the

Overview

In the six months since Anthony, Lucy, and George survived a night in the most haunted house in England, Lockwood & Co. hasn't made much progress. Quill Kipps and his team of Fittes agents keep swooping in on Lockwood's investigations. Finally, in a fit of anger, Anthony challenges his rival to a contest: the next time the two agencies compete on a job, the losing side will have to admit defeat in the Times newspaper.

Things look up when a new client, Mr. Saunders, hires Lockwood & Co. to be present at the excavation of Edmund Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor who reportedly tried to communicate with the dead. Saunders needs the coffin sealed with silver to prevent any supernatural trouble. All goes well-until George's curiosity attracts a horrible phantom.

Back home at Portland Row, Lockwood accuses George of making too many careless mistakes. Lucy is distracted by urgent whispers coming from the skull in the ghost jar. Then the team is summoned to DEPRAC headquarters. Kipps is there too, much to Lockwood's annoyance. Bickerstaff's coffin was raided and a strange glass object buried with the corpse has vanished. Inspector Barnes believes the relic to be highly dangerous, and he wants it found.

The author of the blockbuster Bartimaeus series delivers another amusing, chilling, and ingeniously plotted entry in the critically acclaimed Lockwood & Co. series.

Praise for The Screaming Staircase
"This story will keep you reading late into the night, but you'll want to leave the lights on. Stroud is a genius at inventing an utterly believable world which is very much like ours, but so creepily different. Put The Screaming Staircase on your 'need to read' list!" -Rick Riordan"

A pleasure from tip to tail, this is the book you hand the advanced readers that claim they'd rather read Paradise Lost than Harry Potter. Smart as a whip, funny, witty, and honestly frightening at times, Stroud lets loose and gives readers exactly what they want. Ghosts, kids on their own without adult supervision, and loads of delicious cookies." -Elizabeth Bird, School Library Journal "

Stroud shows his customary flair for blending deadpan humor with thrilling action, and the fiery interplay among the three agents of Lockwood & Co. invigorates the story (along with no shortage of creepy moments)." -Publishers Weekly

Praise for The Whispering Skull
*"An occult portal and its spectral guardian nearly cut short the careers of three rising young ghost hunters in this madcap sequel to The Screaming Staircase (2013). For all their internecine squabbling, the three protagonists make a redoubtable team-and their supporting cast, led by the sneering titular skull in a jar, adds color and complications aplenty. Rousing adventures for young tomb robbers and delvers into realms better left to the dead."
-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

*"Stroud writes with a fine ear for dialog, a wry sense of humor, and a knack for describing haunted places. Creating tension that ebbs and flows, he slowly builds the dramatic narrative to a resounding crescendo, and he makes the quieter scenes that follow just as compelling."
-Booklist (starred review)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
An occult portal and its spectral guardian nearly cut short the careers of three rising young ghost hunters in this madcap sequel to The Screaming Staircase (2013). Continuing their predilection for falling into predicaments that require rapier work and fast exits, psychic detection agents Lockwood, George and Lucy are reluctantly hired by Scotland Yard to track down a mystical old "bone-glass" no sooner found in the arms of a moldering exhumed corpse than stolen. As everyone who has looked into this small but potent artifact seems to have either been driven insane or eaten by rats (or both), police and psychic black marketeers are equally eager to get their hands on it. In fine form, Stroud sends Lockwood & Co. on a trail that leads from an upper-crust social event to the mucky margins of the Thames and into dust-ups with thugs, rival agents and carloads of ectoplasmic horrors that can kill with just a touch. Lucy's cautionary "If you're easily icked-out, you might want to skip the rest of this paragraph " goes for more than one grisly passage. For all their internecine squabbling, the three protagonists make a redoubtable team-and their supporting cast, led by the sneering titular skull in a jar, adds color and complications aplenty. Rousing adventures for young tomb robbers and delvers into realms better left to the dead. (Ghost adventure. 11-13)—Kirkus

PRAISE FOR THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE

"Three young ghost trappers take on deadly wraiths and solve an old murder case in the bargain to kick off Stroud's new post-Bartimaeus series. The work is fraught with peril, not only because a ghost's merest touch is generally fatal, but also, as it turns out, none of the three is particularly good at careful planning and preparation. A heartily satisfying string of entertaining near-catastrophes, replete with narrow squeaks and spectral howls."—Kirkus Reviews

PRAISE FOR THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE

"Stroud shows his customary flair for blending deadpan humor with thrilling action, and the fiery interplay among the three agents of Lockwood & Co. invigorates the story (along with no shortage of creepy moments)."—Publishers Weekly

PRAISE FOR THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE

"...Stroud writes for a younger audience in book one of the Lockwood & Co. series and delivers some chilling scenes along the way."—Booklist

PRAISE FOR THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE

"A pleasure from tip to tail, this is the book you hand the advanced readers that claim they'd rather read Paradise Lost than Harry Potter. Smart as a whip, funny, witty, and honestly frightening at times, Stroud lets loose and gives readers exactly what they want. Ghosts, kids on their own without adult supervision, and loads of delicious cookies."—Elizabeth Bird, School Library Journal

PRAISE FOR THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE

"This story will keep you reading late into the night, but you'll want to leave the lights on. Stroud is a genius at inventing an utterly believable world which is very much like ours, but so creepily different. Put The Screaming Staircase on your 'need to read' list!"—Rick Riordan

In this sequel to The Screaming Staircase (2013), Stroud delivers another riveting narrative in which the three young psychic investigators deal with malevolent supernatural forces in an alternate London. Narrator Lucy Carlyle, the newest member of Lockwood & Co., develops the rare ability to converse with a mysterious skull kept in a sealed jar. Though this captive spirit has the first-hand knowledge the group needs to solve its latest case, Lucy suspects that beyond his entreaties and wisecracks, the tortured skull is manipulating them with misleading information. Physically and pasychologically taxing, the case strains the bond that Lockwood, Lucy, and George share. Stroud writes with a fine ear for dialog, a wry sense of humor, and a knack for describing haunted places. Creating tension that ebbs and flows, he slowly builds the dramatic narrative to a resounding crescendo, and he makes the quitter scenes that follow just as compelling. The second entry in the Lockwood & Company series, this imaginative adventure features one of the most hair-raising chase scenes in children's friction. At the book's end, when the enigmatic Anthony Lockwood reveals a chilling secret, readers can only hope that more sequels are in the offing. High-Demand Backstory: Stroud, of Bartimaeus fame, is no stranger to the New York Times best-seller list, and this second installment of his new series looks primed to keep him there. --Carolyn Phelan—Booklist

Gr 5-8 In this spine-chilling sequel to The Screaming Staircase (Hyperion, 2013), Stroud again demonstrates his ease in the world of the macabre and truly frightening. Lucy works for Lockwood & Co., one of many agencies dealing with The Problem. Fifty years ago, for no apparent reason, the dead rose and began to walk among the living. Agencies employ psychic children to help dispatch the dead permanently. In this second installment, the group (Lucy, leader Anthony Lockwood, and bumbling researcher George) finds themselves drawn deeper into the mystery of The Problem. A supposedly simple job dispatching an unruly cemetery ghost leads to the discovery of black markets, obsessive cults, mysterious collectors, and a bone mirror that drives anyone who looks into it completely mad. As in the first novel, the descriptions of the different types of spirits are nightmarishly frightening (one episode with rat-ghosts is especially gruesome.) Lucy's growing abilities to communicate with the dead, especially the nasty spirit attached to a skull in Lockwood's home, add an additional layer of menace to an already creepy tale; Lockwood's secrets add intrigue and suspicion. The plot gallops along at a breakneck pace, giving little respite from the horrors within. For fans of scary fare, this page-turner is a dream (or nightmare) come true. Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla, Darien Library, CT—SLJ

Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-07-29
An occult portal and its spectral guardian nearly cut short the careers of three rising young ghost hunters in this madcap sequel to The Screaming Staircase (2013). Continuing their predilection for falling into predicaments that require rapier work and fast exits, psychic detection agents Lockwood, George and Lucy are reluctantly hired by Scotland Yard to track down a mystical old "bone-glass" no sooner found in the arms of a moldering exhumed corpse than stolen. As everyone who has looked into this small but potent artifact seems to have either been driven insane or eaten by rats (or both), police and psychic black marketeers are equally eager to get their hands on it. In fine form, Stroud sends Lockwood & Co. on a trail that leads from an upper-crust social event to the mucky margins of the Thames and into dust-ups with thugs, rival agents and carloads of ectoplasmic horrors that can kill with just a touch. Lucy's cautionary "If you're easily icked-out, you might want to skip the rest of this paragraph…" goes for more than one grisly passage. For all their internecine squabbling, the three protagonists make a redoubtable team—and their supporting cast, led by the sneering titular skull in a jar, adds color and complications aplenty. Rousing adventures for young tomb robbers and delvers into realms better left to the dead. (Ghost adventure. 11-13)
School Library Journal
★ 10/01/2014
Gr 5–8—In this spine-chilling sequel to The Screaming Staircase (Hyperion, 2013), Stroud again demonstrates his ease in the world of the macabre and truly frightening. Lucy works for Lockwood & Co., one of many agencies dealing with The Problem. Fifty years ago, for no apparent reason, the dead rose and began to walk among the living. Agencies employ psychic children to help dispatch the dead permanently. In this second installment, the group (Lucy, leader Anthony Lockwood, and bumbling researcher George) finds themselves drawn deeper into the mystery of The Problem. A supposedly simple job dispatching an unruly cemetery ghost leads to the discovery of black markets, obsessive cults, mysterious collectors, and a bone mirror that drives anyone who looks into it completely mad. As in the first novel, the descriptions of the different types of spirits are nightmarishly frightening (one episode with rat-ghosts is especially gruesome.) Lucy's growing abilities to communicate with the dead, especially the nasty spirit attached to a skull in Lockwood's home, add an additional layer of menace to an already creepy tale; Lockwood's secrets add intrigue and suspicion. The plot gallops along at a breakneck pace, giving little respite from the horrors within. For fans of scary fare, this page-turner is a dream (or nightmare) come true.—Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla, Darien Library, CT

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781423164920
Publisher:
Disney Press
Publication date:
09/16/2014
Series:
Lockwood and Co. Series , #2
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
120,217
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.50(d)
Lexile:
670L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Jonathan Stroud is the author of the New York Times bestselling Bartimaeus Trilogy, as well as Heroes of the Valley, The Leap, The Last Siege, and Buried Fire. He lives in England with his family.

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The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. Series #2) 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
eternalised More than 1 year ago
I’m absolutely and utterly in love with the Lockwood & Co series. When I reviewed the first book, The Screaming Staircase, I had no choice but to give it a 5-star rating, considering it was easily one of the best books I’d ever read. The Whispering Skull, the sequel, is no different at all. The world Jonathan Stroud has created in his books is downright amazing. It’s an alternative version of London, one overshadowed by ghosts and other entities. In the sequel, Lucy, Anthony and George are back, and they’re still struggling with Visitors, quarrelling with Kipps, and trying hard to establish a reputation for themselves amongst the other, more reputable agencies. Fortunately they’re in a better position than in the first book – after solving The Screaming Staircase case, their reputation has vastly improved, and they get more job offers. Then a new client, Mr. Saunders, hires Lockwood & Co to be present at the excavation of Edmund Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor with a bad reputation. The trio shows up for the excavation, and all goes well – until George’s curiosity gets the better of him, and he takes a closer look at an object hidden inside the coffin. Afterwards, George acts strange, but neither Lockwood nor Lucy looks for anything behind it. That is, until they hear the contents of the coffin have been stolen by a thief – and the object inside the coffin is potentially more dangerous than anyone realizes. On top of that, the ghost jar starts acting up again. Lucy is the only one who can hears its whispers, but this time around, the jar seems to have an even more sinister message from the beyond. As inspector Barnes asks for the trio’s help to locate the stolen object, he also enlists Kipps and his team – and the challenge is on. But if they want to defeat the evil hidden inside the coffin, they may have to find a way to work together, or this might be the one job that’ll get them killed. Lucy, Lockwood and George are amazing. I loved their dynamics in the first book, and here, they’re spot on again. Lockwood is still as secretive as ever, but part of the veil covering his past, is lifted. We see him in a more positive daylight, not just some Indiana Jones-type who doesn’t care much for his companions. Lucy is a lucky girl to work with him, that’s all I’m saying. Talking about Lucy, she is still struggling with her own powers, and part of what makes her interesting is how real the struggle feels. She’s afraid of her abilities, afraid sometimes of the ghosts closing in on them, and that fear is real and palpable. I also liked her bickering with George – you’d think the two of them would get better along after what happened in the first book, and maybe they do, but only up to some point. There’s still too different to really get along. The plot is fast-paced, and once again, completely blew me away. Everything about the book screams originality, from the setting to the plot (creepy object found in coffin, and the trio having to run all across London to retrieve it) to the characters. The world-building is hands down amazing, and the author should get an award for that feat alone. Everything matches, everything works, and the end result is simply amazing. This is my favorite series ever, and I can’t wait to read the next part. Mr. Stroud, you better get writing, or I might have to sent a Type 3 your way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good book but befor reading, read the 1st one, "the screaming siarcase!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever! One if them, at least. The skull is totally the best character and is amazing!
basson_mommy12 More than 1 year ago
A writer for young people as exciting as J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman and Rick Riordan. The Bartimaeus set (trilogy plus prequel) was an instant classic. Introduced in "The Screaming Staircase," closely followed by "The Whispering Skull" Lockwood, Lucy and George delight through their many terrifying and fantastic adventures in ghost-ridden London. The jump-scare quality of these books is enough for your "Five Nights at Freddy's" fan, and the literary value is high enough to satisfy the most discerning parent. I highly recommend for middle grades (grades 4+).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The sequel to The Screaming Staircase is filled with mystery as well as excitement. Join the three protagonists as they race to find a mysterious object that causes death upon the person who looks upon it. Watch as they are pushed to their limits and escape harrowing danger as well as make themselves known to the world.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is so worth the money. Plus it is fun to see your friends squirm and flee:). BUY NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
RoseCentaur11 More than 1 year ago
For the fans of Bartimaeus, Lockwood and Co. is just as riveting and thrilling with an added spooky factor. I have read every book by Jonathan Stroud and love them all. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago