Thursday, May 22, 2014

Constable & Toop

The folks at Abrams sent me a box of books for the KU Children's Lit Conference.  Among them was Gareth P. Jones' Constable & Toop.

Constable & Toop by Gareth P. Jones

The mood is gray and shadowy - perfect for a rather gruesome book about ghosts and murder. The main living characters are teens. That's the only thing about this book that might make it YA. The murders are awful - although not overly graphic. The lampooning of bureaucracy will resonate with readers of all ages.

Here's the set up. Sam Toop is a Talker. Ghosts come to him for help with those last minute things that hold them here. If Sam is successful, the ghosts walk through the Door into what waits for them. Lapsewood is a ghost - a clerical drudge in the Office that regulates ghostly affairs. Something is amiss in London. The field operative that visits resident ghosts - ghosts held in place by the buildings they haunt - has gone missing. So, although he seems to be incompetent, Lapsewood is sent to find the missing ghost. He finds her and something much, much worse.

There is also an exorcist who rips ghosts apart, allowing that other Evil to grow. And a teen girl, Clare, who is fascinated and enamored with the world of ghosts.

These stories, Sam's, Lapsewood's, Clare's, the exorcist's and the murderer's - I forgot the murderer - unfold alongside each other. Then, they merge.

It's all pretty cool the way Jones pulls each of these strings together. The ghost world of Victorian London promises a lot of stories, should a young Talker have further adventures.

If your copy has an author's note at the end, (my copy is an ARC), take the time to read it.  

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