You heard it here first, maybe - but this is a corker, an excellent read with snappy, witty dialogue. Share it with your nearest upper primary/lower secondary kids, or savour it yourself. Skulduggery Pleasant is a detective, and a skeleton, and along with Stephanie (age 12) sets out to solve her uncle's murder and, of course, save the world, which, of course, involves a powerful magical object and villains who have to be faced with courage.
Irish writer Derek Landy has done a fabulous job of conjuring a fresh fantasy world (lurking behind modern Dublin), inhabiting it with an inventive and original collection of characters and sharing the fun of it. Two more books are apparently under contract, with others possible after that.
One hesitates to say "the next Harry Potter" but I hope this finds the audience it deserves, and who deserve it. The story is driven far more by dialogue than Rowling's books, where the narrative voice is such a pleasure - here, it's the smartmouth exchanges that power the story.
There is a Skulduggery Pleasant website at www.skulduggerypleasant.com and an interview with Derek Landy here, an article in The Times here and a review from The Guardian here.
Blow that. Just go buy a copy and read it. If you don't like it (or if you do) then give it to your nearest school or local library, where it will surely find friends. It's fun.