I received an eARC of this book as part of the blog tour in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.
Genre: Horror/Thriller Age Range: YA Star Rating: 4 stars Series: standalone CW: child abuse
Welcome to Harrow Lake. Someone’s expecting you . . .
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 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.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
This is such a creepy read! I managed to almost scare myself witless by reading this with really depressing but constantly moving music on (But why didn’t you turn the music off, Sifa? I was too engaged by the story to get up and switch album). I had to read this book with the lights on, snuggled under the covers in the middle of the day, but I’m still slightly worried that I’m going to struggle to sleep tonight.
Kat Ellis has managed to right a truly scary and unsettling book with just words – no visuals to help and only soundtrack if you’re foolish enough to chose the wrong album!
HARROW LAKE is part horror, part psychological thriller that works so well because it’s hard to work out what’s real and what’s happening in Lola’s mind. The merge of missing girls and folklore/returning imaginary friends creates a sense of panic, that maybe all the pressure is making Lola lose her grip on reality. The book straddles the boundary between the two genres, but the ending pushes it more one way – I won’t say which as that might ruin it! I really liked the ending, and how it explained the mix of horror and thriller.
The eerie atmosphere is conjured up by a village stuck in time, snatches of a song drifting through the air, and so many secrets choking the air. Lola’s dad makes horror films, and the author must love old-time-y horror films because it feels like (accidentally, in my case) watching a black-and-white horror. The 1920s aesthetic is strong throughout, mixed with the sort of stories you’d tell when the lights have gone out.
If you like unsettling reads that make you check the lights are still on, you should definitely check this book out!
Read my reviews of other books by Kat Ellis: