This is the final novel in Jonathan Stroud’s superb Lockwood & Co series. It does not disappoint. Familiar characters strut the ghostly stage as effectively as ever, with Lucy’s dyspeptic talking skull in particularly fine form. Once again the team break in to various hotly guarded premises at enormous risk and as ever just survive. But there is a limit to how many times Lucy and partners can escape otherwise certain death by inches while still maintaining credibility, and Stroud is wise to wind up the series while it is still going so strong.
But how we shall miss this charming as well as charmed band of ghost-hunters! Stroud has an unmatched ability to mix humour with excitement. There are gruesome moments, but somehow they make their effect without ever seeming nauseating. As in the Harry Potter stories, there is also much about death here, including yet another visit to the Other Side. Things there are significantly worse than the scene in London, where citizens dare not leave their houses after nightfall for fear of toxic spirits on the prowl. An overweening government agency supposedly there to hunt them out is in reality playing a more sinister game. But the tiny band of Lockwood & co is firmly on the case despite every effort to halt their enquiries. Its members still remain perennially young at heart as well as body despite all the travails they have experienced in the past and will go on to meet in this final volume. 500+ pages makes for a long read but Stroud’s many fans here and abroad will only wish this story was even longer. And does Lucy finally manage to declare herself to her cheerfully Byronic boss Lockwood, the undeclared love of her life? Read on, find out and enjoy.