Book Review | Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis

Thank you to The Write Reads for my spot on this blog tour.

Book Description

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.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

Harrow Lake is a dark, twisted, and overall creepy mystery that had me in its grasp from the first page. The story reminded me of a nightmare, and I wondered if it was real or if the character would eventually wake up and find out it was just the main characters’ subconscious talking. Full of symbolism, motifs, and metaphors, Harrow Lake is appealing on many different levels.

Life is tough for Lola, who has not had her mother in her life since the tender age of five and whose father, a horror movie director, is overprotective and very controlling. Lola is not allowed modern conveniences such as laptops or cell phones and even does not have her key to the suite in which they are living.

As a result, Lola thinks in terms of what reactions and responses are Optimal with a capital O. Optimal are things that her father, Nolan Nox, will be pleased by, and sticking to what is Optimal is very important to Lola. She fears negative responses from Nolan for many reasons, one of which is she is afraid to lose him like she did her mother, Lorelei. He is all she has, or so she thinks until tragedy brings her grandmother into her life, and that is where the nightmare begins.

Lola is also concerned about seeing people for who they are – seeing the real person behind the metaphorical masks—seeing the bad along with the good, especially the tells from when they are lying. She also wants people to see her tells as well. She desperately wants people to see the real her, even in a town that her mother grew up in and in the clothes that her mother once wore.

Music and sound are an eerie motif that plays its way throughout the novel. They indicate when Lola is afraid, like in a horror movie. Sound is instrumental in a film to suggest fear and stimulate that same reaction in the audience. The use of sound descriptions in Lola’s story is masterfully used the same way.

The last few pages are crucial for understanding the story, and I have worked very hard not to give anything away. The ending blew my mind and made me realize just how truly creative and compelling the story is.

Harrow Lake will give you the chills, challenge your perceptions, and enthrall you from the first page – who could ask for more?

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, will be published in 2020 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.

You can follow Kat on twitter @el_kat, on instagram @katelliswrites, or visit her website: or facebook page

7 Replies to “Book Review | Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis”

  1. I didn’t know it wasn’t out yet. I put it on my Kindle wish list. I have some audible credits but when I am driving I am usually travelling and can’t listen to creepy stories!

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