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Lockwood & Co. #4

The Creeping Shadow

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After leaving Lockwood & Co. at the end of The Hollow Boy, Lucy is a freelance operative, hiring herself out to agencies that value her ever-improving skills. One day she is pleasantly surprised by a visit from Lockwood, who tells her he needs a good Listener for a tough assignment. Penelope Fittes, the leader of the giant Fittes Agency wants them--and only them--to locate and remove the Source for the legendary Brixton Cannibal. They succeed in their very dangerous task, but tensions remain high between Lucy and the other agents. Even the skull in the jar talks to 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 Steve Rotwell and Penelope Fittes just may do the trick. But, in a shocking cliffhanger ending, the team learns that someone has been manipulating them all along. . . .

445 pages, Hardcover

First published September 13, 2016

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About the author

Jonathan Stroud

56 books9,152 followers
Jonathan Anthony Stroud is an author of fantasy books, mainly for children and youths.

Stroud grew up in St Albans where he enjoyed reading books, drawing pictures, and writing stories. Between the ages seven and nine he was often ill, so he spent most of his days in the hospital or in his bed at home. To escape boredom he would occupy himself with books and stories. After he completed his studies of English literature at the University of York, he worked in London as an editor for the Walker Books store. He worked with different types of books there and this soon led to the writing of his own books. During the 1990s, he started publishing his own works and quickly gained success.

In May 1999, Stroud published his first children's novel, Buried Fire, which was the first of a line of fantasy/mythology children's books.

Among his most prominent works are the bestselling Bartimaeus Trilogy. A special feature of these novels compared to others of their genre is that Stroud examines the stereotypes and ethics of the magician class and the enslaved demons. This is done by examining the perspective of the sarcastic and slightly egomaniacal djinni Bartimaeus. The books in this series are The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem's Eye, and Ptolemy's Gate, his first books to be published in the United States.

Stroud lives in St Albans, Hertfordshire, with his two children, Isabelle and Arthur, and his wife Gina, an illustrator of children's books.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,979 reviews
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
522 reviews34.4k followers
November 10, 2018
”Strange how close the darkness is, even when things seem brightest. Even in the glare of a summer noon, when the pavement bakes and the iron fences are hot to the touch, the shadows are still with us. They congregate in doorways and porches, and under bridges, and beneath the brims of gentlemen’s hats so you cannot see their eyes. There is darkness in our mouths and ears; in our bags and wallets; within the wing of men’s jackets and beneath the flare of a women’s skirts. We carry it around with us, the dark, and its influence stains us deep.”

This was already the fourth “Lockwood & Co.” book and it definitely was a lot darker than the others. I don’t know if that’s because the characters grow up and get older or if it’s due to the situation at the beginning of the book. Either way it’s pretty obvious that Stroud went for a darker tone in “The Creeping Shadow” and of course I loved it as well! This series is just too good and Stroud definitely knows how to keep his readers on their toes. There was never a dull moment in the entire book and everything that happened was really intriguing and only caused me to read on. =)

When I didn’t answer, it gave a chuckle. “Lucy, I’m a malevolent skull without an ounce of compassion. You’ve got to be worried if I’m feeling sorry for you.”

To be entirely honest, I was pretty worried about Lucy too. After the cliff-hanger of the last book I was very nervous to find out if she really went through with her plan. I couldn’t imagine how this book could possibly work out fine but then Stroud did his magic and everything made sense again. *lol*

I think one of the most interesting things about “The Creeping Shadow” was the fast pace in which the book proceeded. I mean we’re used to one or two major cases in “Lockwood & Co.” but this time around there were fires almost everywhere. We had a cannibalistic ghost, dealings with the relic market, appearances of Penelope Fittes and Steve Rotwell and a major case at Aldbury Castle that kept our team more than just busy. To say some of them (especially the Guppy case) were appalling and hair-raising would be putting it mildly. XD

”Anyway, in his confession, Solomon Guppy explained that he’d used a number of recipes – roast dishes, fricassees, curries, even salads. He was quite experimental.”
“Crackers,” I said.
“I’m not sure about those, but he might well have tried them.”
“No, I mean he was crackers. He was clearly bonkers. Barking mad.”

I swear my scaredy cat self was hiding under a warm blanket and turned on all the lights when I read this book at night. *lol* Well, anyway let’s move on from my slightly embarrassing confession and talk about the cool characters instead. ;-P I love, love, love and love George! I don’t know how often I already said this but I really like this boy! XD And OMG! I think he has a crush on Flo which is so damn cute that I can’t even!!! It’s so adorable that he tried to be so nonchalant about it! <333 Also, the friendship between them all gives me life whenever I read about it! There’s nothing they wouldn’t do for each other and it’s so refreshing to read about a good solid friendship for a change. Not many authors manage to pull this off but Stroud is definitely one of them! ;-)

”Care to fill us in?” Lockwood said.
George paused. “Do I have to get up and come round to lean against the table in a cool, leaderish way like you?”
“That’s entirely optional.”
“Good, because my legs are too short to do it comfortably. My buttocks would keep sliding off. “

Don’t you love George’s honesty? *lol* I guess another character I love at least as much as George is the whispering skull! Boy, do I dig this guy! His sassy comments always make my day and I’m still not over his countless murder suggestions of “The Hollow Boy”. He’s creative, I’ve to give him that! Haha! Plus it’s kinda cute that he seems to want Lucy for himself. If I wouldn’t know it better I’d say he has a crush on her, since he’s a sinister ghost I’m not all too sure about it though. XD

”And there, slouching in a corner by the side-wall, a thin and rangy youth, hair spiked, hands in pockets, staring at me. He stood amidst a pile of discarded jars and boxes. He was as grey as the inhabitants of the dark village, except for his grin, which gleamed sardonically even in the swirling dusk and was somehow most familiar.”

Another thing I enjoyed immensely was that Lockwood and Lucy finally had a serious talk and were able to sort some things out. It was necessary and the way it happened wasn’t only surprising but also suitable somehow. I liked to get a glimpse at Lockwood’s thoughts and the way he sees himself. He’s very self-aware and for some reason that surprised me. I mean I should have known that already, but sometimes his recklessness gives the impression that he doesn’t dwell on his own actions all too much. Guess I was proven wrong after this book! ;-)

”Kipps was right about me – and Rotwell was too, for that matter. I don’t hold back, do I? When I set out to do something, I never take the safest route. Sooner or later, I suppose my luck will run out.” He shrugged. “I’ve always been that way.”

And this quote brings me right to Penelope Fittes and Steve Rotwell! Those two!!! They finally showed their true colours and if I’m entirely honest I always suspected them to be ruthless and to do their own thing. I have no clue what Penelope Fittes is up to but I’m sure we’ll find out in the next book. What she did with Kipps was wrong and I can’t believe I’m saying this but damn that poor boy kinda grew on me. I remember my dislike for him in the first book but the more I read about him, the more I started to like him. Deep down within him he’s a nice guy and he didn’t deserve this! >_< Poor bloke! =(

All told I really enjoyed this fourth book and I definitely want to dig my fingers into the fifth and last book soon! Unfortunately I’ll have to pre-order “The Empty Grave” before I can read it, and knowing my library this is going to take forever a while. Wish me luck that I’ll finish this series soon! ;-)
Profile Image for ♛ may.
805 reviews3,774 followers
October 11, 2017
Full review posted

There are precisely three things in this world that make my heart all fuzzy

1. Hoodies and hot chocolate
2. Reading fricken good books while it’s snowing
3. Lucewood

This book was fantastic. This book was beautiful. This book was creepy. This book was literally so great I could scream about it for decades to come.


So, let’s talk about how this book is the greatest book in this series.

1. Lucy is a boss and she doesn’t let anyone tell her otherwise like always

2. Holly and lucy’s friendship my heart


4. George is everything good and pure and damn boi he made me tear up in this book. Can you imagine, funny, charming George saved 2017

5. I really liked how the first half of this book was just chill, like how the previous books in the series are and then the second half takes you from your warm, cozy bed and dumps you into a cold lake that was an actual description of what it did to me

6. THIS STUFF BE CREEPYING ME OUT BADLY (you need that scary October read, here y’all go)


8. I listened to the audiobook of this (because it’s Inktober and I can’t draw like a normal person, no MULTITASKING MUST BE DONE) and might I say the narrators are DIVINE. They capture the characters so well and it MAKES EVERYTHING MORE REAL FOR ME AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

9. Kipps? Is? A? Real? Person? Who knew

10. The second half of this book was so good its going to get you shivering and hiding behind your momma and screaming from feels and tearing up bc these babies are so precious. So. precious.


Anyways, I just want two things from the last book

1. Lucewood kiss
2. Skull’s story

5 stars!!
758 reviews2,350 followers
March 24, 2017

ok ok honestly i accidentally read the blurb bc im a bitch who needs to read stuff before even finishing the previous damn book.
Profile Image for Rikke.
426 reviews54 followers
September 18, 2016
There's this badge on the cover of the books: Stroud is a genius. Obviously, that's 100% true.

And to be honest The Creeping Shadow, isn't even flawless perfection. In fact, it's the most flawed in the series. It's still awesome though. And very much so. Because when it works, it works brilliantly. I really can't recommend it enough. The series that is, because skipping ahead to this book, without reading the first ones, would be cheating yourself. Obviously.

Anyway, if Stroud were to write and release a new chapter in this series, daily for the rest of my life, I wouldn't skip reading a single one. Save maybe if I was to sick to read. Then I might have someone read the chapter to me.

Obviously my expectations for this installment has been massive. But to address its imperfections; the first third or so was slightly disappointing at times, not bad, just somewhat fumbling, or even lacking in smoothness, chapter 6, and 12, especially. I'm nitpicking of course, but it did feel overly repetitive in places, and although it's been a year since I read The Hollow Boy, I certainly didn't need this amount of repetition on say, the founder of The Fittes Agency for instance, really once would have been plenty. Also I had hoped for a higher flow of cases. In that regard I felt a bit let down, at least for a while.

When finally, the story finds itself, it becomes every bit as brilliant as the previous installments, more so even. It's really just an amazingly compelling series. One of the very best. A definite all time favorite.

For lots of reasons, really... The characters are amazing, the story is brilliant, it's witty, it's exciting, it's well plotted. The style is awesome, the alternate Britain is eery and compelling. Did I say brilliant.. Really, that's a word you cannot use to much in connection with this series.

I'm well aware that I can't make anyone love the series like I do. Obviously, we connect with stories in different ways, and at different times, if ever. To me, this series is as amazing as Harry Potter. In a way more so. Maybe it's not exactly better, but it's definitely no less brilliant either. I like very few books like this. It's one of those rare ones that I'll want to read again and again.

As for the hardback I was awaiting.. It seems the publisher expects to release it after I'm gone. According to the website in 2098, so while I would much rather receive a copy of it, I'll more likely be refunded my money. Bummer! I could respend it on the U.S. version, but I would much rather read the British version, with all it's informal and old British words. Really it's endearing and witty throughout.

-------Prereview, of sorts---------

I ordered two books.. One for my daughter, and one for me. Then today she got hers. Am I envious??? Nooo.. Me, envious.. Never.. Mine haven't even been dispatched yet.. Which means I may receive it some weeks from now... If I'm lucky.. What to do..? I could buy a third copy from iBooks and get to read it soonish, or I can wait.. Should I buy three of any one book this will definitely be the one most deserving..

It's no doubt my most anticipated read this year!!

I might do it..

Really, I can't rave enough about this series..!!
Profile Image for ✶Rachelle✶ .
266 reviews123 followers
August 10, 2017
5 stars all over again

These books are so near and dear to my heart. Lucy, Lockwood, and George are wonderful and I love them so much. They are some of the best written characters I've come across in YA fiction, and they stand with the greats (Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, etc).

And of course the skull. His sass takes on a whole new level here and I can't tell you the number of times I busted out laughing at something he said XD

I don't even know if I can write a full and coherent review for this book because I am currently hugging the book to my chest trying my best to osmosis myself into this world. Can I pretty please be a part of the Lockwood and Co team?


t-minus 32 days until The Empty Grave and my fingers are crossed for some major Lucewood shipping please and thank you =D


Update 8/7/17: So I'm rereading this because book 5 comes out next month and I am absolutely in love with Lockwood, Lucy, and George (Holly is just okay).


WHAT WAS THAT ENDING??????????????





According to the description, this one has "an unexpected cliffhanger ending". Well I guess it's not so unexpected now, but the next book doesn't come out till September, which means a tortuous wait through the summer *cries softly*

Oh well I have to read this NOW
Profile Image for Nika.
284 reviews101 followers
August 20, 2022
Ой ну вже чекаю на 5 частину
Найцікавіше власне лишилося 🥳🥳🥳 - думаю врешті стане зрозуміло як і нащо ці привиди з’��вилися
Або ні)))
Profile Image for Gabrielle  (needs a break).
317 reviews46 followers
September 16, 2022
Something wicked this way comes. Mild spoilers, for instance.

Confession time: This book was probably my least favorite in the series. Alright, alright, put down those pitchforks and hear me out for a minute.

The Creeping Shadow was flawed. The first half of the book was, much like Lucy's encounters with Lockwood and the gang, awkward. It took a while to find its flow, and was honestly a little repetitive until it found its groove. We didn't need to be reminded of what happened in the previous books that many times, Stroud. Just saying.

This book picks up a few months after the events of the previous book. Lucy's been sticking it out on her own and, it must be said, she's been doing pretty alright. Sure, it gets a little lonely, and sure having to listen to agency supervisors whine and harp during cases gets annoying real fast, but Lucy enjoys her freedom. And, more importantly, she's taking comfort in the fact that she's not leading Lockwood to his death.

But all that changes when she stumbles upon a dangerous secret, and the only people she can turn to are her old friends back at Lockwood & Co. - Holly, George, and Antony Lockwood. They take her back with, mostly, open arms, and the four of them quickly fall into their old groove and move on to solve possibly the biggest mystery in their short careers. One that involves the shady as hell (I've been saying it from the beginning) Penelope Fittes, and the Rotwell Agency.

From thereon out, the pace picks up, and the writing finds its rhythm again. And, without spoiling, lemme tell you, that the mystery in this novel has HUGE repercussions that will impact the rest of the series. Really. I can't wait to see what's in store for the gang in the books to come.

The characters as the same as your remember. Endlessly charming in their individuality, and each witty as hell. I was surprised the find that the character I was most excited to see wasn't Lockwood (Kaz Brekker has officially ruined me) but the skull. Yup. The skull. He's still a sassy, annoying little cretin, but God he was a delight.

The imagery and the description were also a true delight. Stroud definitely upped his game in that department. Like, this books shows us some of the creepiest ghouls and ghosts in the series. It was all very well done.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable read. I just... I just can't help but feel a tad disappointed by the initial pacing issues, as well as the character growth. Or lack thereof. I felt like there were so many opportunities for these characters to grow and evolve as people - but there really wasn't much evolution. There were few changes, yes, but for the most part, they're all pretty much the same. Which is sad, because considering everything they've been through in the last couple books, there's definitely room for a little, believable, character change.

Oh well, who knows what surprises the next book will bring. I NEED IT NOW.

PS: Lucy REALLY needs to get over the Holly hate. It's gotten really old.
Profile Image for Данило Судин.
489 reviews156 followers
March 15, 2023
Четвертий том має достатньо похмуру і нуарну атмосферу. Власне, цією атмосферою й надихалися творці серіалу, перший сезон якого - екранізація перших двох книг. Насправді, перші три книги доволі світлі. Попри привидів, моторошні таємниці, напружені відносини в агенції, все нагадує класичний детектив в стилі Дойля.
А от четвертий том стрімко показує темну сторону Проблеми, тобто нашестя привидів на Великобританію. Це і продажні працівники агенцій, і доволі жорстоке середовище торговців та мисливців за артефактами. В другій книзі Вінкмен поводиться доволі мило: просто викидає Локвуда і Люсі зі свого магазину, а от в серіалі... О, там він схожий на ґанґстера!
Загалом, четвертий том поки найкращий. Цікаво, коли Абабагаламага видасть п'ятий том
Profile Image for Al.
13 reviews17 followers
September 21, 2017
This book is awesome. It has all of the great components one looks for in a young adult book: quick action, loveable characters, a great plot, and it manages to both put a smile on my face as well as scare me to the point where I have to sleep with the lights on.

Unlike the other Lockwood and Co. books so far, this one focuses more on action and plot, and less so on the individual haunts and the team-bonding aspect. And, while refreshing, it does have its downsides... though not many.

For starters, Lucy was a little bit annoying in the first half of this book. Not to the point where I disliked her, but to the point where I questioned where the awesome heroine from the other three novels went and why she was replaced with an irritating-at-times and overly-jealous-for-no-reason girl. I understand completely why she acts like this, and to this I can simply say - Lucy, denial is not only a river in Egypt. It's obvious you like Lockwood, so why not ACT on it?

But that's the only downside. Otherwise, this book was FANTASTIC!

There's action, there's laughter, there are loveable characters and notable moments. I absolutely loved the scenes between Lucy and Lockwood (there's an especially adorable one near the end of the book), and the normal Lucy is back in the second half of this book, which was great.

Of course, I highly recommend!

But then I realize I have to wait another entire year for the finale.

Also, I need more Skull backstory!!! NOW PLEASE!!
Profile Image for Paige  Bookdragon.
938 reviews608 followers
September 21, 2016

I have this huge crush with Lockwood and every time his name pops up, I drool.


This is the 4th book of the series and if you haven't read the other 3 yet, close this tab right now and wash your eyes. The story started six months after Lucy left Lockwood's agency *wails*. There's still some major exorcism in this book but what differs The Creeping Shadow from the 3 books is that, this book reveals some major creepy conspiracy that is happening all over London.


I won't tell you any spoiler because I'm that nice but here are my reasons why this book deserves my four star.

1. Lucy and Lockwood moments.

Like for real I know that there's no romance in this series but holy snickle snitty snattery shit, I love those short but this-is-warming-my-dead-heart moments between Lucy and Lockwood.


2. The skull.

That trash talking, super creepy and devilish skull in the jar provides the best jokes. He was awesome since book 2 and if you're a fan of this little fella, read this book.



Color me shocked when someone informs someone about some serious mojojojo that affects the whole story. If you've read the book and know what I'm talking about, call me. We'll fangirl and do discuss about it.


Btw, I need to ask: When will the next book be released?

Profile Image for Софі.
53 reviews7 followers
August 14, 2022
Якщо коротко, це було шикарно
Profile Image for Ardent Reader.
221 reviews212 followers
September 24, 2019
These books keep getting more excited than the last one.
At first, there was a bit disappointment when Lucy was working as a freelancer, but eventually she joined again with the Lockwood& Co' and guess what? The story became more exciting.
Why does always Stroud ends the book with a major cliffhanger??
Profile Image for Veronique.
1,219 reviews164 followers
October 17, 2022
This is one of my all-time favourite series. One that I keep coming back to, especially at this time of the year.

“What, are you queuing now? Just how British are you people? Don’t just stand in line! Kill somebody!” (dixit The Skull, of course)

After the events of the previous instalment, it was impossible not to want to find out what happens to Lucy, now on her own, working as a freelance operative. Well, not exactly on her own if you count Snarky Skull ‘commenting' on everything from her bag...

This series continues to improve, developing the characters, their interactions, as well as deepening the main plot thread, each time increasing the stakes. As always, we have plenty of hair-raising action, with just the right amount of horror and thrills, without forgetting a good dose of humour. The formula works perfectly, while adding each time some change. The team now counts 5 people (and 1 skull - let’s not forget the funniest element!). We’re also getting closer to the nature of The Problem.
Profile Image for Khyati.
37 reviews2 followers
March 11, 2017
The wait for this is going to kill me. Reading this is going to kill me. Everything about this book will kill me. EDIT: There's a blurb and Lucy just left I can't even process this I'm so excited! Personally, I'm hoping for lots of Lucewood.
6/8/16: THERE'S A COVER AND I COULDN'T LOVE IT MORE! 3/11/17: Wow. Read this book
Profile Image for Jody .
201 reviews132 followers
December 28, 2018
The Creeping Shadow is Jonathan Stroud's fourth book in the Lockwood & Co. series. I have really grown attached to the psychic investigative trio of Lucy, Lockwood, George, and their sidekicks they have picked up throughout each book. While I don't read much YA these days, this is a series that will undoubtedly appeal to readers young and old.

It's hard for me not to get bored with a lot of YA books after moving on to epic fantasy and sci-fi in my adult years. I tend to really enjoy a book or two and then it just becomes tedious. That was not the case with this series. I gobbled up books 1 thru 3 in no time. Books 4 and 5 have taken a little longer to finish, but that's because I had a few books I wanted to get in before the end of the year, and a couple of buddy reads I had planned.

Besides the characters, the Lockwood & Co. series has genuine feel to it that appealed to an interest of mine that has really taken a shape of its own the last decade...psychic investigation. We have all saw the TV shows and how they have evolved over the years. Mr. Stroud takes this movement and makes it his own by creating an alternate reality London were the world of the living and the world of the dead are not so very far apart. The streets are roamed at night by children and teenagers who guard the city and countryside against this paranormal threat. There are certain ways to fight and ward against ghosts. They are broken down into specific categories, with creepy titles for each type. It's all very detailed and easy to get sucked into the story. You get a double helping of entertainment and creepiness at the same time.

So, if you in the mood for an fun and creepy read, then this series is definitely one to pick up. It has characters that are easy to love and cheer for, well crafted world building, with humor and camaraderie aplenty. If you don't read much YA like me, this series will take you back to why you feel in love with reading when you were younger. The fun and adventure of escape into another world....if only for a short time.

Actual Rating: 4 stars ****

Profile Image for Mel (Epic Reading).
895 reviews274 followers
May 27, 2020
Thank goodness this fourth book to Lockwood and Co. series is broken up into sections; or I’d never sleep or eat or work until I’d completed it. It’s a huge roller coaster ride: full of intrigue, new types of ghosts, friendships, scary scary shadows and so much more! And all along we are with Luce, Lockwood, George, and Holly; plus some other characters we’ve met along the way. Oh and my favourite character, the skull in the jar!
This series is truly amazing. As a middle grade series it’s always tough to attract older or adult readers. However some of the best books ever written (including Harry Potter) are middle grade books.
Lockwood and Co. is about to become even more popular as it is being made into a TV series. So if you like being ahead of the curve and want to know all about this great five book series (I have only one book left in series, sad) then start with book 1. If you’ve already delved into this world then you’re in for a great adventure. We learn sooo much more about ‘the Problem’, Lockwood’s feelings, the skulls knowledge and more.
Onward to book five I go. I’m really hoping the ending to this series is strong. I might be heartbroken if it isn’t.
Profile Image for Madeline.
771 reviews47k followers
April 12, 2018
The fourth installment in the five-book Lockwood & Co series picks up a few months after the last one left off - Lucy Carlyle, having left the Lockwood agency after realizing that her experiments with her psychic abilities were putting the rest of the team in danger, has been working as a kind independent contractor, teaming up with other agencies for one-time jobs. It's only a matter of time, of course, before Anthony Lockwood shows up and asks Lucy to help her former agency with a job.

Honestly, I almost wish that Stroud had devoted more story space to explore Lucy's new role as an independent ghost hunter - her time as a freelancer is over so quickly, and she goes back to Lockwood & Co so easily, that I don't know why Stroud even bothered having her leave the agency in the first place. Honestly, it just feels like he needed a way to end Book Three on a cliffhanger and "Lucy leaves Lockwood & Co" was the best he could come up with. But at the same time, I'm glad he realized that it was a bad idea, and put her back with the agency as soon as possible - Lucy is best when she's interacting with the whole team (talking skull in a jar included) and even though I think Stroud missed an opportunity when he decided not to give Lucy more time to function solo in the story, I think this series is at its best when we're seeing the whole ensemble cast working together on a job.

With only one more book to go in the Lockwood & Co series, it finally feels like things are picking up steam - just in terms of plot and resolution, this is the best in the series so far, because Jonathan Stroud is finally giving us some concrete answers to the central mystery that's been brewing in the background since Book One. This book follows the basic formula that Stroud has established for the series: we start with a ghostt-busting mission right at the beginning, then there's a second minor mission, and one final big setpiece for the climax. But, as in the best installments in this series, all of the cases are connected, and trace back to the central question of the series - how did the Problem start? Like I said, Stroud gives away a few things here (like more answers about what the Orpheus Society is up to) but he's still saving the biggest bombshells for Book Five, and I'm excited to see how he's going to wrap up the series.

Honestly, I really enjoyed this book, but had one major issue - Holly Munro's characterization continues to baffle me, specifically her interactions with Lucy. In my review of the previous book, I joked that Lucy's dislike of Holly seemed to stem more from a subconscious crush, rather than actual animosity. And then in this book, we get stuff like this, where Lucy is trying to make the reader understand why she doesn't like Holly:

"It was her skin that always got to me. It was darkly buttery, with not a pimple to be seen. And her features, too - everything was in the right place. There'd been a time when her easy perfection drove me mad, and I knew that in my disheveled, wildly imperfect way, I'd done the same to her."

Like, seriously. How else am I supposed to interpret that?

It's profoundly confusing, because I honestly can't tell if Stroud is genuinely intending for us to think that Lucy has a crush on Holly. I want to believe that society has advanced far enough for him to casually include a same-sex flirtation subplot in his YA ghost-hunting adventure, but is that really what's going on? If Stroud is doing it intentionally, he's probably just queer-baiting us, since Lucy/Lockwood is pretty obviously his endgame. And if he doesn't realize that he's writing the Holly/Lucy scenes with a romantic undercurrent, that's even worse, because it just means that Stroud thinks the only reason girls wouldn't get along is because one is jealous of how pretty the other is, which...sucks.

And it's also confusing, because Lucy/Lockwood shipping seems pretty common among the readers of this series, and I haven't seen any other reviews that mention the Holly/Lucy stuff. So maybe it's all in my head. But on the other hand, Jonathan Stroud wrote this conversation between Holly and Lucy:

"She gave a laugh. Oh, joy - it was the special tinkling one that set my teeth on edge.
'Someone at Portland Row really missed you, you know,' she said.
I kept my voice light. 'Well, I missed everyone, too, of course. ...Er, who was that?'
'Who missed you most particularly?' Her laugh again; her big dark eyes smiled at me sidelong. 'Can't you guess?'
It was hot in that cafe. I did something with the sleeves of my sweater. 'No.'
'Oh. What-? Did you?'"

Okay. I get that Lucy is uncomfortable because she's thinking of Lockwood, and this bit of conversation is Stroud trying to reinforce the idea that Lucy and Lockwood have romantic potential (I remain firmly on the fence about this, but whatever). But if that's the case, then what the hell is Holly doing with this conversation? Because it really reads like she's flirting with Lucy, and Lucy doesn't notice. I'm frankly a lot more interested in the idea of an Odd Couple-style romance between Holly and Lucy than a straightforward Lockwood/Lucy romance, and I have a feeling that Stroud is going to let me down in Book Five. But seriously, I really want to know what he's intending with these characters.
January 17, 2018
I adore this series. I always look forward to the newest book. And I have to get these on audiobook because the narration is always excellent. I was not disappointed. At the end of "The Hollow Boy", Lucy leaves Lockwood and Co for what seems like good reasons at the time. She becomes an independent contractor ghost hunter and she's good at her job. But she's not happy, even with her glass jar skull for company. She misses the camaraderie of Lockwood and Co.: George, even Holly, and of course, Lockwood. But she left to keep them safe because her newer abilities to communicate with ghosts might cause her to make a mistake and get one of her friends hurt.

Lockwood shows up at her new digs and asks for her help with a case, and she agrees to help them out. It's one of their tougher cases, and Lucy finds her life in jeopardy shortly after, and realizing that she's more safe sticking with Lockwood and Co. until they figure out who's trying to kill her. That's when their biggest case comes their way, a whole haunted village. They end up in a small town with serious ghost problems a conspiracy that will shake the foundations of the ghost hunting community.

I love how Stroud steadily builds on the foundation of the last book and the previous ones. The story just expands beautifully and he doesn't leave any plot elements dangling. While he turns a few things on their heads, it's organic as the reader realizes that things weren't as the characters thought or believed. The characters are very well developed and layered. While the main characters are all teens, they have a maturity that is realistic considering the world they live in and the dangers they face every day. Let's face it. The children are the ones on the frontline, confronting and dealing with the ghost Problem.

These books are delightfully eerie and downright chilling at times. Also, there's plenty of human menace. I mean, grownups trying to kill kids. How sick is that? While the paranormal elements are integral to the story, the heart of it is the characters. Everything is told from Lucy's point of view (it's 1st person), but the characters don't suffer from being seen through the typically narrow 1st person vantage point. Instead, they are richly described, with dialogue and action that shows you everything you need to know about them. Lucy also grows as a character as she faces significant challenges and comes to realizations about what she is and how to deal with the troubles she and her friends face. And that they are stronger together.

As with the last book, this has a nice conclusion but it also leaves the door open for the next book. Things are about to get even more intense, and I'm here for it.

Another book I'd love to see made into movies. And I just checked and it's going to be optioned for a tv series in the UK. This pleases me. Sadly, the next book is the last book. But all good things come to an end.

Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Ginger.
738 reviews340 followers
November 23, 2020
Another hit in the Lockwood & Co. series!!

I’m ranging around 4.5 to 5 stars with this 4th book in the series.

The Creeping Shadow was excellent from the beginning to the end.
I loved all of the plot twists that happens in this book along with showing how members of the Lockwood & Co. are dealing with

I thought The Creeping Shadow took this series in a great new direction with the black market that deals with possessed items, rival agencies wanting a piece of Lockwood & Co., to the crew dealing with major paranormal cases.
It's really much darker in this last addition and I think that's why I enjoyed it so much more.

I thought the book’s pacing was fantastic!
The humor is still top notch, and I loved all the action in The Creeping Shadow.

I am really impressed with what Jonathan Stroud has done with this series and his characters. The characters are becoming so much more real in each book!
You can see how their friendship and love for one another will be the thing that gets them through tough times and hidden enemies.
And on that note, I’m excited to get to the last book in this series after that cliffhanger!

If you love supernatural themes with great humor and fantastic action, you’ll love this series.
I have not been disappointed with any of the books in this series.

The Lockwood & Co. is more then just for children and young adults. It's really for all ages and if you enjoy great writing, characters and well thought out plots, then check this series out!
Profile Image for Silvana.
1,119 reviews1,111 followers
February 3, 2023
Second read: The rating stands. Also, I'd like to see those ghost-repelling feather cloaks in action.

First read:
I have good news and bad news. First, the bad news: there will be only one Lockwood novel to come out.

The good news, this latest novel is the best of the series so far. In terms of plot, definitely fulfill the expectation, following that rather shocking ending of The Hollow Boy. The opening scenes of Lucy trying her luck (with lots of troubles) being a freelancer are lots of fun. Obviously, being a small world of ghost agenting, her path came across Lockwood & Co yet again. Here, we are given more character study. What did the trio feel about the separation? They faced death and beyond together for years. It was satisfying to read the inner thoughts of Lucy when she (being attentive as ever) observed the behaviours of her former colleagues and subsequent interaction with them. It felt real to me. Despite my reservation on (potential?) romantic plot in YA novels, whatever happened in this novel THANKFULLY did not ruin the story. Phew.

And the ghosts! They were still bloody scary. How I miss all the horror scenes, the eerieness of ghosts' presence that is described quite masterfully by Stroud.

How about the comedy? Oh lots of those here, courtesy mostly of the mysterious, sarcastic Skull. Definitely one of my favorite character of the series. It is great to read about his own relationship with Lucy and how they actually worked quite effectively together.

The conspiracy stuff is still front and center. Many revelations, devious plots uncovered and one of them would, I guarantee, knock your socks off and lessen your patience in waiting the final installment of the series. So...what are you waiting for? Prepare your rapier, iron, flares, and salt-bombs. Join the hunt.
Profile Image for Beth.
1,138 reviews110 followers
September 25, 2016
FIVE STARS. This successfully addresses almost all the relationship and character problems I had in the previous book - Lucy, Holly, George - and it also portrays quite a few satisfying decisions, in addition to (to my mind) improved interactions. Also, The Creeping Shadow comes across as more of a mystery than any book preceding it; it's probably because the usual case mystery is clearly tangled up in something bigger from the start, and both unfold simultaneously. There's a lot of breadcrumb-dropping, but it's of the tantalizing variety.

I maintain there's a critique of government subtly taking place beneath the surface, especially given the events that unfold toward the end, while the mystery is being resolved and the resolution dealt with. I like it a lot.

And while we're coming to book 5, this doesn't feel like a series that's being dragged out. An actual resolution is hinted at (George is clearly investigating it), and given the place of agencies in society in general and the economy in particular, I'd love to see how a resolution, which would drastically change the world, would be handled.

This is exciting and smart, and the worldbuilding is full of weird quirks, and it has a spectacular ending. Excellent cliffhanger alert - and when was the last time I said that?
71 reviews5 followers
Want to read
November 3, 2015

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Jonathan Stroud, HURRY!
Better yet, don't hurry. I'd rather wait a long time and get another really awesome book, than have a case of the infamous Author On Deadline crappy writing.
Take your time.
But make sure it's awesome.

And whatever you do, please, please don't make a love triangle.
Profile Image for Jesica.
142 reviews39 followers
September 12, 2017
5/5 stars

I really.. really enjoy this book. It’s not spectacular. In fact, I guess the third book, The Hollow Boy, remains my favorite of the series but this book has it’s own enjoyable feels.
The story began with Lucy working as freelance psychic advisor. She did relatively well with the skull in her side but she longed for a proper team. Suddenly, after not seeing each other for four months, Lockwood came to her office/apartment and asked for her help. The meeting was quite comical. Lucy hadn’t expect Lockwood to come and her apartment was super messy that she became embarrassed. Lucy agreed to help Lockwood & co. to solve a case given by Penelope Fittes. One event lead to another, suddenly Lucy was hunted by mysterious killers who stole the whispering skull and killed her friend. Alone and had nowhere to go, Lucy went back to Portland Row 35. With the help of Lockwood & co. (especially Lockwood :p), Lucy tracked down the Skull and found out about a bigger horror going on involving some big agencies, black marketers and lots of visitors.
The book started really creepy. The first two cases were terrifying. Not only they had to fight evil ghosts, but evil ghosts who had been really evil when they were alive. A witch and a cannibal. I really admire the author’s writing. There’re a lot of cases but each of them had it’s own unique element. In the witch case you could only see it through a mirror so when you see it, it would be as the ghost creeping behind you with arms stretch wide ready to give it’s deadly ghost-touch. I found the image super creepy. Anyway, not all the cases was that impressive. The Creeping Shadow, in particular, was a little weird. But what had the most attention was the relationship of Lockwood & co. agents, particularly Lockwood and Lucy’s. Seriously, I think they’d be very cute together >.<. I really think that Lucy actually liked Lockwood. Even the Skull was jealous of Lockwood. Lucy always tried to convince herself that she was just helping Lockwood but actually she was just glad to be with her. Even Lockwood’s hideous disguise didn’t discourage her.
Okay, what with the wig and the makeup, and his blacked-out teeth, he didn’t look too great right then; but behind his gappy grin shone the old Lockwood smile, and that smile and those words together swept everything else aside. All guilt and queasiness were gone, and I was conscious of nothing other than the thrill of being there with him.

But still, Lucy did put Lockwood’s life in danger to save the Skull. She’s so messed up sometimes.. the other member was great too. Holly had become accustomed to Lockwood & co. and had become more efficient. George was.. well, George. He’s genius as ever with his researches and experiments. I earned weird stares from people when I read this book in a public place because one of George’s theory made me laughed out loud spontaneously.
“I don’t get worn patches on the seats of my trousers,” Lockwood said. “And I don’t have any jeans.”
“Well, think of mine, then. I have plenty of old pairs. The fabric gets thin, then stringy, then widens to an actual hole. All of a sudden it’s embarrassing when you bend over. It’s the same here, except that it’s not your underwear showing—something else comes through.”
“This metaphor is disturbing in a number of ways,” Lockwood said. “Right now I’m actually less worried about the ghosts than about the other images you’re conjuring up.

I enjoyed this book to the very end though the ending was very unexpected (does the author have to end it on THAT??). It ended so suddenly that I knew it was over when I flipped one page and instead of next chapter, it’s glossary. And I thought I might still had some more pages to go.. -_-This book also has it’s surprises. Lockwood & co. acquired a new agent!! (I won’t spoil who.. it’s quite surprising :D) a little minor spoiler, though, there’s a glimpse of the Skull’s true form in this book!! I really can’t wait for the next book.
Profile Image for R.J..
Author 13 books1,415 followers
October 21, 2016
How on earth did I get so invested in a series about ghosts?! I dislike ghost stories, generally speaking. Yet I loved the Real Ghostbusters cartoon as a kid, and this is like the Super-British Version with a bonus of super-understated and repressed teen romance, so all right then.

In fact a bit more than all right, because this is the fourth book in the series and I'm still eagerly reading...

Anyway, THIS BOOK WAS EVERYTHING I WANTED. Well, not literally everything because there are still more adventures to come and I am super excited about that, but everything I could have wanted from the series at this particular point.

I don't even know how to talk about it without a) screaming and b) all the spoilers, but this book is a game-changer in basically every sense of the word, and I couldn't be more happy about it.

I love slow-burn stories, both in terms of carefully developed relationships and in terms of the unfolding of a complex and multilayered plot, and Jonathan Stroud is nailing both aspects for me. So I am in emotional torment AND massive suspense, please continue, this is fine.

(This is the worst review ever. But those of you who've read the book will understand.)
Profile Image for Melanie Schneider.
Author 20 books77 followers
March 12, 2017
Oh my! Zum Ende hin konnte ich gar nicht mehr aufhören zu lesen!

Wieder einmal schafft es Jonathan Stroud, mich mit seinen Büchern um die Geisteragentur Lockwood & Co. zu begeistern. Nach den Geschehnissen in Band 3 gab es viel aufzuholen. Es war unglaublich spannend, Lucys Weg zu verfolgen und die Interaktion der Gruppe untereinander war klasse. Es gab einige Fortschritte zwischen manchen Figuren und oooh, habe ich mitgefiebert, als es darum ging, etwas sehr wichtiges wiederzubeschaffen. Ich habe es in Teilen des Buches ebenso schmerzlich vermisst wie Lucy.

Man merkt deutlich, dass die Figuren älter werden, was mir sehr gut gefällt. Einige Dinge wurden näher behandelt (in unfassbar gruseligen Situationen...) und ich hoffe ja doch ein bisschen... ich verrate nichts ;)

Die Atmosphäre des Buches war richtig gut gelungen. Es gab wieder einmal so gruselige Stellen, ich habe regelrecht gemerkt, wie sich mir die Haare aufstellten. Die humorvolle Art der Kommunikation unserer Truppe und eines alten Bekannten war da eine gesunde Abwechslung.

Ich kann jetzt kaum den fünften Band abwarten, ich hoffe auf etwas Großes!
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