the Little Red Reviewer

Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft, by Joe Hill

Posted on: November 22, 2010

 A fter their guidance counselor father is brutally murdered by a deranged student, the Locke siblings Tyler, Kinsey and Bode move cross county with their mother from California to rural Massachusetts. The family mansion, known as Keyhouse, sits on the end of the island village of Lovecraft. The children explore their new home, and try to come to grips with their father’s death. 

Key house is full of magical doors. There is a door that makes you old, and one that makes you young. A door that changes your sex, and one that lets you teleport. But the doors are hidden, and some of them require a key. Bode finds a door that turns him into a ghost, and meets his echo in the wellhouse. Of course his older brother and sister don’t believe him. Everyone just thinks he’s acting out. His only friend is his echo, and she promises to be his friend, if he’ll help her with just a few little things.

Meanwhile, back in California, Sam Lesser, their father’s killer, escapes his mental hospital prison, and begins hitchhiking across country. He’s got a job to finish, and the means to do it. Someone has promised Sam eternal freedom, if he brings her two very specific keys, both of which are hidden somewhere in Keyhouse. 

As Sam’s sanity deteriorates even more, and the Locke children meet people from their father’s past, the puzzle pieces begin to come together. Can the children protect themselves against a supernatural monster who knows all the secrets of Keyhouse? Suspenseful? Let’s just say you better plan to read Locke and Key in one setting. 

Joe Hill is no stranger to suspense and horror, he’s the son of Stephen King, and most printings of Locke and Key sold out within days to rabid fans. If the first volume is just set up, just the beginnings of the building of the suspense, I can only imagine what the Locke children have to go through to keep their family and their sanity intact.

 Hill may be responsible for the story, but what’ll first hook you is the artwork by Gabriel Rodriguez. In a word, the artwork is stunning. Plenty of scenes are dialogue free, and not only does the “silence” add to the creepiness factor, but Rodriguez’s artwork makes it easy to know what’s going on and why. The art gallery at the end is a major bonus.

 When I saw the word “Lovecraft”, I thought “unspeakable horrors? Old ones? Nightmares for a week? Sweet!”.  Was Locke at Key suspenseful, scary, and successful at keeping me turning the pages? Yes. Where there nightmarish Lovecraftian horrors? None that met my specifications. If you are looking for an engaging, intriuging haunted house story, definitely pick this up. Just don’t expect the first volume to give you nightmares.

2 Responses to "Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft, by Joe Hill"

I loved this one. I also expected elder gods and the like, but was pleased with what I got.


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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