Shortly after I read Joe Hill’s The Fireman, I started picking up his other books including a full-cast audiobook of the Locke & Key series. In an effort to find “freezer-worthy horror” for a reading challenge, I thought I’d give it a try last week. (BTW, freezer-worthy is so scary you’d hide it in the freezer.)

As I started the audiobook, I realized it didn’t make enough sense to me. It was hard to follow the story with just unfamiliar voices and characters. So I grabbed up the six issues of the graphic novel – 2 on Hoopla, 3 from the library in print, and the last via Kindle. Talk about a multi-dimensional reading experience!

The combination of audio and visual is perfect with this series. If you love the books and haven’t listened to the audio, you must! The audio effects, music, and actors make the experience completely immersive and atmospheric.

Gabriel Rodriguez’s art is positively gorgeous. He creates intense creepiness with all the magical and horrific elements of these books. In addition to being an artist and illustrator, Rodriguez is an architect and it really shows. Key House is a character in the book, albeit not a living organism. The illustrations featuring the house are architecturally detailed and amazing. Plus, the people he draws show their humanity (or evil) through expression and action.

The story from Joe Hill has deep messages, tremendous suspense, and true emotion. Of course, it’s horror and fantasy, so you suspend disbelief. That’s part of the joy of it all. Hill writes with perfect pacing and a nearly cinematic, focused plot. Once I started, I literally couldn’t stop reading. And by the end I was incredibly attached to each character, especially the heroic and flawed Locke family.

Does this count as freezer-worthy? If I’d just read the graphic novels, I would have said no. But with the audio, it certainly is scarier than most. I’m going to count it and recommend to friends!