Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

LOCKE & KEY #3 by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguiz


 Joe Hill switches points of view again in Locke & Key #3. This time the focus is on Kinsey, the middle child of the three Locke children. She’s fifteen years old and noticeably troubled by the savage murder of her father. That death precipitated the family’s move back to the ancestral home, Key House in Lovecraft, Massachusetts.

The story so far as been dark and eerie, and I’m totally loving the macabre nature of the events. Moreover, I’m actually enjoying waiting each month to see what’s going to happen next. Usually on a limited series, I wait to pick up the graphic novel collection, but I’ve discovered that I like playing with all the various encounters and resolutions I can come up with on my own. I love matching wits with Hill to see if I can predict which way he’s going to turn.

Fans who have followed the comic series since its inception might be troubled by the first couple pages’ of replay to introduce potential new readers to the book. However, the voice over Kinsey provides also gave me a chance to sink into her character and remember all that she’d been through. No one could go through what she survived and be unscathed. Kinsey’s carrying her scars, and Gabriel Rodriguez’s art brings all that horror to the reader.

Since her father’s murder, Kinsey has worked hard to disappear. That’s what she did while the killers hunted for the family, and that’s become her motto. I knew she was struggling with her own mortality, and Hill really pounds that in well.

After the soul-searching opening, I wasn’t quite prepared for the bloodthirsty escape in the next couple pages. Hill laid out the plans for the visuals, but Rodriguez brought the image home with scarlet-laced savagery. Furthermore, the reader gets to see exactly what Sam Lesser (one of the murderers of Rendell Locke) does with the mirror and scissors he got from the apparition at the bottom of the well in the wellhouse.

I laughed as I read and saw Kinsey’s relationship with her little brother Bode. The second issue revealed that he’s able to become a ghost when he goes through one of the house’s many doors. Unfortunately, he can’t get anyone to believe him. The author and artist’s handling of the comedic within the parameters of the chilling horror and grueling anticipation is awesome.

The reaction Kinsey has to the smell of fresh paint is great. Her father was painting their house when he was killed, so the smell was everywhere. I’d forgotten that, but Hill had it planned in. This is just another of those reasons I like the book so well. Hill has a fantastic eye for detail and how to use it. Even the heart-to-heart conversation Kinsey has with her coach, though serious, poses some comedic moments that are perfectly natural under the circumstances. I love how these characters are portrayed, and if the movie comes out, it should be a treat.

However, the bracelet Kinsey is wearing sends the coach into a search that lets us know that she knows something we don’t. The mysteries Hill has in play all the time make me re-read the book after I finish it the first time, and guarantee a later re-reading as I try to put everything together. The puzzle-lover in me feels challenged.

I’m halfway home after this issue, but I’m enjoying the trip. Even after months of waiting, I know I’m going to be sad to see this twisting jaunt into terror come to an end.


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