Dickon Edwards's Reviews > Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft

Locke & Key, Vol. 1 by Joe Hill
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's review
Apr 15, 2011

it was amazing
Read in April, 2011

I don't watch enough TV fiction - save Doctor Who - but sometimes a comic book series fills that gap. In storytelling terms, this is the comic equivalent of 'Lost' or '24' or any other programme where you just have to tune in - or in this case, get the box set, ie the collected volumes.

Joe Hill, like Brian K Vaughan (who actually did go from comics to writing 'Lost'), is an absolute master of keeping the reader wanting to turn the page, then come back for the next instalment. He has this trick of scattering unexplained bits of information that do two things at once: they reward a second read and intrigue without alienating first time around, to grip the reader.

I read somewhere that Roald Dahl once listed what kids want most in a story, and it applies to adults too:

SECRETS. The creation of them, and the promise that they will be discovered before the story is over. People talk about what 'drives' a story, eg someone wants something, and does something about it. But what drives the READER is the uncovering of secrets. A striptease on the page!

Dahl also said that kids want to see the villain meet a sticky end. Well, Locke & Key's villain is wonderful: a beautiful but utterly evil gender-changing entity called Dodge, who may or may not be human. The series is still ongoing, and Dodge has yet to be bested (the hero tracks down his secret identity in book 4!), but I don't think Joe Hill's readers will let him finish Locke & Key without a proper comeuppance for Dodge, and again, that's what keeps the reader coming back.

Can't recommend this series enough.


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