Author: Kat Ellis
Published by: Penguin
Publication date: 09/07/20
My rating: ★★★★.5
I received a free review copy from Penguin in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
I’m a sucker for urban legends and was lured in by Mister Jitters from the start. Legend has it, Mister Jitters was buried in a landslide for days, pleading for help that never came, surviving by eating the dead. Now he has a taste for human flesh and seeks revenge on the town who ignored his plea.
Harrow Lake follows Lola, daughter of Nolan Nox and Lorelei McCabe, director and leading actress of the celebrated horror movie, Nightjar. After Nolan is brutally attacked Lola is sent to Harrow Lake, where Nightjar was filmed, to stay with the grandmother she’s never met while he recovers. Things take a creepy turn from the start, the town is obsessed with both legend and film that put them on the map and has a history of strange disappearances, including Lorelei’s that are all casually swept under the rug. Stories of both Mister Jitters and the mother she barely remembers lurk around every corner, enticing Lola in. Secrets long hidden are about to be revealed,
This book has my name all over it, and while a large chunk of this wasn’t what I thought the book would be, it definitely worked though. I went from being confident Mister Jitters was real, to questioning everything I thought I knew, to finally realising. Realising that nothing makes sense, while also making sense. I don’t even know if that makes sense. It can be quite disorienting, that’s one aspect that really appealed to me. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the pages though, I couldn’t even look outside my window at night, peeling wallpaper started to look sinister.
The horror references, especially the Stephen King ones are a nice added touch. There’s so much to unpack, I feel a lot is up to reader interpretation too.
Harrow Lake is an addictive and sinister read, cleverly weaving elements of abuse and legend, leaving the reader questioning what, or who Mister Jitters really is. Just read it and find out for yourself.