Saturday, April 23, 2016

Stefan Bachmann

Stefan Bachmann is the author of the internationally bestselling novel The Peculiar and its acclaimed sequel, The Whatnot. He was born in Colorado, spent most of his childhood in Switzerland, and is now studying modern music at the Z├╝rich University of the Arts. When he’s not writing, he can be found traveling to someplace chilly, or holed up beneath his college in the dimly lit labyrinth of practice rooms, which may have inspired the subterranean scenes in his new novel, A Drop of Night.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Bachmann's reply:
I recently read Jonathan Stroud's The Screaming Staircase and absolutely loved it in an ecstatic, screaming-about-it-at-my-own-book-events sort of way. I read his Bartimaeus Trilogy as a kid and was a huge fan, but then I kind of forgot about his work for a while. I heard about this new series when it came out back in 2013. Didn't buy the first book until recently. Now I wish I had gotten to it sooner.

It looks like middle grade, possibly YA, but it's enjoyable for any age. The book is set in a subtly alternate England where ghosts and spirits have started causing mayhem, and professional agencies have sprung up to combat them with iron and flares and secret knowledge. Lockwood and Co. is a new agency made up of three teenagers, each of whom have distinct personalities that play off each other in humorous ways.

My favorite part was the ghosts, though. There are different categories, different rules for dispatching each sort. It's almost scientific and these ghosts are definitely of the serious, "dark shapes standing at the bottom of the garden" variety, not so much Ghostbuster variety. I loved that. There are also haunted manors, and hints of deadly cases in the past, which some of the characters may-or-may-not have been wrapped up in. It's all very tantalizing, and you can tell Stroud is setting us up for much wider reaching world-building in coming volumes. Which I will be reading. Soon.
Learn more about the book and author at Stefan Bachmann's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: The Peculiar.

The Page 69 Test: The Peculiar.

The Page 69 Test: The Whatnot.

The Page 69 Test: A Drop of Night.

--Marshal Zeringue