STROUD, Jonathan. The Hollow Boy. 400p. (Lockwood & Co.: Bk. 3). Disney-Hyperion. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781484709689.
Gr 5-8-As in the previous volumes, The Screaming Staircase (2013) and The Whispering Skull (2014, both Disney-Hyperion), the latest escapades of Lockwood and Co., a ghost-hunting agency staffed by the crack team of Anthony Lockwood, George Cubbins, and Lucy Carlyle, start with a hair-raising scene of murder, mayhem, and ghostly apparitions. Narrator Lucy finds herself on shaky ground as her ability to speak to ghosts grows ever more powerful and more dangerous, while changes to the agency in the form of a tidy, Type A assistant named Holly Munroe seem to spell doom for Lucy’s future with the company. Meanwhile, The Problem grows exponentially worse and a fading, famous department store holds more horrors than Lucy has ever seen. A series of disturbing discoveries, building on revelations in the earlier books, make it clear that there is a more human malevolency than The Problem at work in London, and Lucy, George, and Lockwood are drawing ever closer to its source. As always, the descriptions of the hauntings are genuinely frightening, especially that of a spindly, humanoid creature that crawls on all fours and whispers Lucy’s name. VERDICT Pleasantly nightmare-inducing and as captivating as its predecessors. Fans of the series will anxiously await Lockwood and Co.’s spine-tingling adventures in the next installment.—Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla, Darien Library, CT