After a terrible home invasion ends in the death of their father, the Locke family is forced to relocate to Lovecraft, Massachusetts, to live in the late Mr. Locke’s childhood home with his brother. Wracked by grief (and, for some, guilt), the children hope to find solace in the new beginnings of the aptly named Key House, but things are not as they seem. Doors lead to realities seemingly impossible, opening pathways to spirit dimensions. As if things weren’t strange enough already, there’s a voice in the well house… crying for help.
Let me preface this review by saying that I love – no, really, love Joe Hill’s writing. I think he has a beautifully wicked imagination, and to be frank, I believe that even the man’s grocery lists are probably strange. I had somehow missed the memo that he was involved in the creation of a graphic novel series until a few weeks ago, but the moment that I found out, you’d best believe I ordered myself a copy of the first volume.
Like everything else I have read by Joe, the story line was simultaneously sad, unsettling, and downright odd; however, the icing on the cake came from Gabriel Rodriguez’s gorgeous illustrations. From the front cover to the back, each panel was just captivating, with brilliant color schemes and mind-blowing attention to detail. Artistically speaking, this was by far one of the most enjoyable graphic novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading.
As far as the story goes, where do I begin? It’s devastatingly sad, in parts; right off the bat, we’re dealing with a couple of kids who have just watched a classmate murder their father, and to make matters worse, the big brother of the crew blames himself for every bit of it. His guilt is positively tangible, as is the sense of loss their mother drowns in spirits, or the desperation to go unnoticed that his previously free-spirited younger sister falls into. Beyond the sadness, there’s just a fantastic sense of dread from start to finish, and that’s got to be one of my favorite qualities to Joe’s writing. By the time the action really got going (thanks to one particularly disastrous lady in the well – wait, can we talk about that gruesome mirror scene?!), I was on the edge of my seat through to the very end. I found myself rooting so hard for the Locke kids, especially little Bode, who was just adorable and zany and loving and all of the best traits you could ask for in a little kid.
Long story short, I adored this graphic novel, I cannot wait to get my hands on the next volume, and I would recommend this to any horror lover – especially those who love Joe Hill’s quirky writing as much as I do.