I was so excited when the upgrade to my Nook came out so that I could read graphic novels on it (one of the main reasons I wanted the color Nook in the first place). I saw this graphic novel offered at a great price at Barnes and Noble, so I immediately downloaded it and started reading. I found it a little cumbersome to read on my device at first - the print is a little small for these aging eyes, and the zoom isn't as elegant as it is on my iPad, but after the initial adjustment period, I settled in to enjoy this atmospheric, creepy tale.
I chose the book simply because of the word "Lovecraft" in the title, fully expecting a tentacly, Cthulhu-inspired tale. Instead, I got a horror story that was an unsettling mix of realistic serial-killer violence combined with eerie supernatural elements.
The book opens with the brutal murder of a high school guidance counselor, which leads to his wife and three children moving back to Keyhouse, his family home, in Lovecraft, Massachusetts, in order to start a new life and get away from the horrific memories of that terrible day. Lovecraft is an old house that has secrets, and the youngest child, Bode, discovers them first. When he talks about them to his older brother and sister, they don't believe him. The killer who murdered their father breaks out of prison and heads up the coast to Lovecraft, bent on a mission to retrieve one of Lovecraft's secrets - at any cost.
Wow, this was such an atmospheric, creepy story. The artwork is nothing short of spectacular, a perfect complement to the growing sense of peril and tension as the story unfolds. There is a rather large cast of characters, and the story involves each one of them. Despite the relatively short amount of time spent with each of the characters, Hill manages to give them a sense of individuality and depth, so that as the plot progresses, the tension does as well because the reader can't help but care about these people and what happens to them.
I did not realize at first that this was as series, and that I was suckered in to it with the great price on the first volume - the others all cost double! But I'm in, and I've already purchased the second book, which I'm looking forward to reading with high expectations. This series is definitely not for children - seriously bad things happen, and it's the kind of unsettling violence that particularly gets under this reader's skin. But it's a gripping tale, and I have to know what's going to happen next. Fans of the Sandman books and other dark, atmospheric fantasy will be sure to enjoy this graphic novel.
Books in the Locke & Key series:
1. Welcome to Lovecraft
2. Head Games
3. Crown of Shadows
4. Keys to the Kingdom
Welcome to Lovecraft (Volume 1 in the Locke and Key series) by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriquez (IDW Publishing, 2008)
Source: Purchased ebook for my Nook
Also reviewed at:
Little Red Reviewer: "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."
Reading Thru the Night: " I love that Hill incorporates both a crazy killer...with a haunted-spirited filled mansion. It's like the best of both worlds for the spooky."
Top 5 Comics: "You want something spooky? Has character depth? Humorous? Has a great story? If the answer to any of those are yes, then seek out Locke & Key. "