I’m back with another blog tour with The WriteReads gang and this time it’s for the paranormal horror thriller Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis. And I mean, I know–Dini, reading horror? Who am I even, right!? Yep. I’m a masochist but we’ll come back to this one later 😉 Special thanks to Dave @ TheWriteReads for organising this amazing blog tour and to the publisher and author for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!
Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers who are also on this tour!
Goodreads: Harrow Lake
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK Children’s Penguin
Release Date: 09 July 2020
Genre: Horror, Thriller
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.
*Note: all quotes are taken from an advanced copy and are subject to change in the final copy.
I hardly if ever read horror because I’m The Ultimate Chicken™ and I’m notoriously bad at handling creepy stuff. But I also like to branch out of my comfort zone every now and again, so when I was asked if I wanted to join the blog tour for Harrow Lake with the WriteReads gang, I immediately hopped on after reading the synopsis. It sounded absolutely terrifying but I was excited to also try something new. I am also clearly a masochist 😆 But this book was so worth it!
“How could anyone grow up in a town like this and not believe in monsters?”Kat Ellis, Harrow Lake
Since I tend to stay away from this genre, I don’t really have much of a basis for comparison, but I’d imagine this book started out as many horror novels/movies do. It pretty much kicks off right away with Nolan’s stabbing and Lola quickly being sent off to Harrow Lake. Ellis did a great job in creating such a sinister setting that steadily built in pressure as the story progressed; it’s the feeling that makes your toes tingle and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up! As much as it had my heart racing and made me want to tuck my feet under the covers so that nothing could grab me from below, I loved how atmospheric the story was. Ellis also did a great job in describing the desolated eerie town. It was easy for me to picture the scenes playing out before me like a movie reel in my head–I think this would make a great show!
“I’m Alice, thrown into a world I don’t understand, chasing a rabbit I was never supposed to follow.”Kat Ellis, Harrow Lake
The story is told through Lola’s perspective and I found her quite an interesting character. She’s a little bit jaded, very isolated and considering she’s the daughter of a horror movie producer, she can have some fairly dark and violent thoughts. She has a very twisted relationship with her father, Nolan, who was a right controlling bastard! I thought Lola was quite an unreliable narrator and I was constantly questioning what was happening because I wasn’t sure if it was a dream or not, and if it was real how was all of it happening?! It was mind-forking in the best way. Pretty much all of the characters in this book skeeved me out and just thinking about most of them now really has my skin crawling. The population of Harrow Lake is exactly what I’d picture in a horror movie. Everyone was super weird and obsessed with the horror flick that made their town famous. The combination of creepy people with the oddity of the town being “stuck” in the 1920s and its tragedies really added to the story’s ominous vibes.
“They won’t admit it, but people here know there’s something rotting inside all of us, and they don’t want that smell to bring Mister Jitters out to feed.”Kat Ellis, Harrow Lake
While this book started off very much like a paranormal horror, I loved the twists that it took towards the end. Some were predictable but the main plot twist was so different to what I expected, and while I normally don’t like when things take such a turn, I was really pleased with how it worked out in this book. I also don’t usually like the slightly cliched open endings (that maybe wrap things up a little too perfectly/easily), but I admit it was pretty satisfying to see here.
Overall, I’m surprised to admit that this was a very enjoyable paranormal horror thriller that I also didn’t find as scary as I thought I would; though it was still creepy enough for me! I’m really glad I stepped out of my comfort zone for this book and I’m kind of hoping it’ll become a show or something because I can 100% picture it on screen! I’d definitely recommend it.
Kat Ellis is the author of YA novels PURGE, BLACKFIN SKY, and BREAKER, and the novella THE TWINS OF BLACKFIN in the THREE STRIKES collection. Her next book, HARROW LAKE, will be published in the summer of 2020. You’ll usually find Kat up to no good on Twitter, trekking through ruins and cemeteries with her camera, or watching scary films with her husband.
Have you read Harrow Lake or is it on your TBR?