Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis – Book Review
Author – Kat Ellis
Publisher – Penguin
Pages – 320
Released – 9th July 2020
ISBN-13 – 978-0241397046
Format – ebook, paperback, audio
Review by – Stacey
Rating – 4 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
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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 swiftly 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 Lola’s every move.
The more she 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…
Teenager Lola Nox is the daughter of horror filmmaker Nolan Nox. The book opens with Nolan being interviewed for Scream Screen Magazine. As the questions turn to the disappearance of Lola the interview cuts off and we are then sent back a year in time.
The year before Nolan is found stabbed in his apartment by Lola. Whilst Nolan is in the hospital there is no one else to look after Lola so she is sent to stay with the Grandmother she has never met before in Harrow Lake, the place where her father filmed his movie Nightjar, featuring Lola’s mum who disappeared when she Lola was just five years old.
Harrow Lake is a strange small town haunted by the past in which a landslide killed some of the residents. Rumour has it that one of the buried residents now wanders the town of a night time looking for victims to eat after he got the taste for flesh.
From the moment Lola arrives she has a weird feeling about the place and her Grandmother, who seems to be suffering from dementia and treats Lola like she is her missing daughter, even making her wear her clothes she has kept all these years. She also keeps seeing a girl following her and jitterbugs tapping and moving on their own. It’s all in her head though, isn’t it?
I’m not of YA age and I read a lot of psychological thrillers, suspense books, paranormal stories and as such whilst I thought this book was engaging and interesting I did not find it scary nor creepy in any sense, but I can see why those that are not used to these genres or those that are scared easily would given the nature of the plot. You need to remember this is a YA book so the horror aspect isn’t going to be what you would find in a Stephen King or Dean Koontz novel.
The book is based around Lola and her time in Harrow Lake. I can’t say she is a particularly nice character, in fact, she grated on me quite a lot with the way she viewed the world and her attitude which was down to the way she had been brought up, such as you shouldn’t say sorry or thank you to people nor show weakness.
The storyline itself is full-on and intriguing. As we know from the beginning that Lola disappears I was held captivated wanting to know what happens to her, does the creepy man get her? Is there something more sinister going on? I was eager to find out.
The ending I had mixed feelings about, partly because I was left wanting to know more about the past, but happy there was closure for Lola.
Book Reviewer – Stacey
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About the Author
Kat is a young adult author from North Wales. Her novels BLACKFIN SKY, BREAKER, and PURGE are available now in the UK and US, and her novella THE TWINS OF BLACKFIN features in the collection THREE STRIKES from Firefly Press. Her next novel, HARROW LAKE, has been published by Penguin Random House Children’s.
When she’s not writing, Kat can usually be found adventuring in ruined castles and cemeteries, taking photos of weird and creepy things to inspire her writing.