Title: Harrow Lake
Author: Kat Ellis
Published: July 9th 2020
Length: 320 pages
Source: Blog Tour
The must-have thriller of 2020 that will keep you gripped, keep you guessing and keep you up all night.
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 then 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 . . .
I don’t know exactly what it was. But I was intrigued from the start. Maybe it was the writing style, the way we meet Lola, with her lists, her secrets and her habit of stealing small things – but she immediately wormed her way into my heart. And that never changed.
She is an unreliable narrator and that worked very well for this story. We meet Lola and immediately you can tell that something isn’t quite right here. The way she talks about her dad Nolan or Larry … her obsession with doing and saying The Optimal thing …
And then she finds her dad in a puddle of his own blood and gets shipped off to her grandmothers. To Harrow Lake. A place she doesn’t know, except for the scenes in her dads most famous movie Nightjar, starring her mother.
When Lola arrives in Harrow Lake, her mother is everywhere. The whole town is stuck in the 1920s mixed in with memorabilia for Nightjar. And full of stories about disappearing girls, Lorelei and Mr Jitters.
Kat Ellis masterfully creates a creepy, mysterious atmosphere, using all the senses in her descriptions which makes the reading experience so rich and wonderfully eerie. The people in that town are all … let’s say a little unusual having lived if this decaying town.
After her suitcase mysteriously disappeared (and her grandmother not being really fussed about that) Lola is forced to wear the clothes Lorelei wore for her role Little Bird, slowly changing her more and more into that character. Lola is determined to find out more about her mother, now that she is in her hometown and gets help from Carter.
I quite liked him. His conversations with Lola were everything. Such small things but with a big impact. Through this, we not only learn more about Lorelei but also about Lola, about Carter and Cora and about the town as a whole. It’s very intriguing to peel back layer after layer.
While Lola is a very well developed character, with multiple layers and buried memories, the other characters pale a bit in comparison. We get to know Nolan quite a bit through Lola, and Cora and Carter, too. But in the end, it’S all about Lola and her trying
The ending was very well done. While I suspected the underlying cause pretty much from the start, the journey was intriguing and there was still a twist at the end I did not predict. I loved how Lola slowly unravelled what happened, secret after secret, reality blurring with stories and tricks of the mind.
I actually really enjoyed the conclusion, how not every tiny little detail got neatly wrapped up. But I got all the answers I needed.
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.*