Friday, 7 October 2016

The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud

The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co. #4)
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 . . .

Returning to the team, Lucy understandably feels torn; it feels like home but she is worried about Lockwood. Not to mention George feels hurt and abandoned, and Holly thought it was because of her. Actually everyone thought it was because of Holly! But before long, Lucy is back at it again, running off with Lockwood into thrilling danger and defeating ghosts and bad guys alike. We started with the notorious Ealing Cannibal (really shouldn’t have read that bit before bed!). This case was incredibly scary, just a dark atmosphere and super creepy feeling, plus, you know, bones in the basement and stories of bits of flesh in the fruit bowl… urgh.

Lockwood then pulls the team to a tiny village that appears to be the epicentre for a hell of a lot of ghost activity – it also happens to be right next to a Rotwell research institute so while they are there… might as well investigate! Between the multitude of hauntings in this village and the secrets behind what the institute are actually researching, we suddenly had a conspiracy feel to the storyline. Which was fantastic, as we sacrificed individuals cases like previous books for threading details together
and adding into the story behind the Shadow.

What I adore about Stroud's books are the hugly character driven plots; a lot of this story was the tension between Lucy and the rest of the team and that all melting away as they work together again. Plus I am a huge Lockwood and Lucy shipper and the few moments they get in this installment just makes me heart melt, as well as feel like my stomach has dropped out because it was utterly terrifying! Finally, I can't not mention the Skull. As witty and hurtful as ever, the Skull actually becomes a major character as he is stolen and part of the conspiracy plot to learn more about ghosts.

A brilliant story and amazing developments both to the characters and the overall plot, Stroud always leaves me a little breathless from the thrills and secrets (sometimes literally) exploding within the pages. There are few secrets left, but after the massive cliff hanger right at the end, all I can say is: bring on the finale!

Published 15th September 2016 by Corgi.

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