I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis
Published by Penguin on July 9 2020
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Horror, Thrillers & Suspense, Paranormal, Occult & Supernatural
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
A can't-put-down, creepy thriller about the daughter of a horror film director who's not afraid of anything--until she gets to Harrow Lake.
Things I know about Harrow Lake:1. It's where my father shot his most disturbing slasher film.2. There's something not right about this town.
Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker--she thinks nothing can scare her.
But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she's quickly packed off to live with a grandmother she's never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father's most iconic horror movie was shot. The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map--and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.
And there's someone--or something--stalking her every move.
The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola's got secrets of her own. And if she can't find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her.
Wow. Upon delving into Harrow Lake I’m not ashamed to admit I didn’t fully appreciate what I was getting into. I thought it was going to be a plain sailing horror novel, a similar story but a story that was inevitable none the less. WRONG. I should have dug deeper just by one singular word used in the title – Harrow. This story has the capability to encase your heart in ice, its harrowing and captivating and pushes ice cold water through your veins. Be prepared for the author to give you a remarkably unique journey through your worst fears and leave you rocking in the corner by the closing of the final page.
A daughter of a film director, Nolan Nox. He came to fame with the release of his classic film, Nightjar. It catapulted Nolan, Lola’s mother and the creepy little town it was filmed in into crazy levels of fame. Reading the scenes based in this little town started to set off those blaringly loud red alerts sounding off in my head. Reading it was akin to looking through steamed up glasses – I can see shadows, but they quickly disappear from my peripheral vision. What was I experiencing?
Lola finds herself temporarily staying in this town after her father is injured. It certainly isn’t her first choice but as it is contained within her fathers will (he isn’t dead) and there isn’t anyone else to care for her, she has no choice. She is with her grandmother that she doesn’t know – no friendly faces, nothing familiar around her and things very quickly go awry. In this situation how can a young girl swim through the murky waters of a bone deep terror that will be unleashed on Lola in an unrelenting fashion. I loved this take on a child navigating fear as I usually indulge in adult horror. Harrow Lake consumed me, and I allowed it to swallow me whole. I wasn’t disappointed.
Harrow Lake indulges all your nightmares, thrown into a formula of every other horrific thing you can imagine and mixed together in order to stop your heart immediately. The town had my brain trying to fight against the scrambled feeling. It’s the kind of place you constantly have to look over your shoulder at. It is immersed in gothic legends and none as terrifying as Mr Jitters. I’m not spoiling that one for any potential readers!
Initially I had a bit of a hard time connecting with Lola. After a period of reflection, I came to the conclusion that it was due to how the author wrote her. She wasn’t really allowed to have a multi-faceted personality. Her father had a very domineering presence in her life and for whatever reason he had, it impacted how she presented herself to the world. No make-up, no phone and no laptop, and you can certainly expect her not to have social media. When she escaped that is when she more or less became a butterfly. She shed the chrysalis and became more.
Harrow Lake is a spectacular read. Kat Ellis has done a sublime job of creating an fully immersive imagery and invoking real emotion from her readers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kat Ellis is the author of young adult novels Purge, Breaker, and Blackfin Sky, as well as a novella within the Three Strikes collection titled The Twins of Blackfin. Her next novel, Harrow Lake, will be published by Penguin Random House Children’s (Puffin/Kathy Dawson Books) in summer 2020.
Kat studied English with Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University before going on to work in local government communications and IT… and then writing took over.
When she is not writing, Kat can usually be found exploring ruins and cemeteries with her camera. She is an active blogger, instagrammer and tweeter, and is represented by Molly Ker Hawn at The Bent Agency.