Reviews | Written by Ed Fortune 12/07/2020

HARROW LAKE

AUTHOR: KAT ELLIS / PUBLISHER: PENGUIN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

There’s a specific subgenre of horror that’s hard to put a finger on. Slow-drip psychological terror with a blatant supernatural element is a staple of the genre. Add a protagonist that it’s hard to actually like but you end up rooting for and you have the bones of a really solid ‘80s-style horror movie. Harrow Lake isn’t a movie, but this novel strongly taps into the VHS and digital watch generation to tell a story worthy of the likes of Argento, Raimi, and Craven.

The story focuses on Lola Nox, a young woman who has spent most of her life so far in a bubble of privilege and as such hasn’t really had a chance to be anyone. Her father is an infamous Hollywood filmmaker and she pretty much lives under his shadow. Tragic events see Nox sent away from the big city to the rural town of Harrow Lake to live with her grandmother. It’s also the place where her father filmed the movie that made him famous, Night Jar.

The town has its own collection of creepy inhabitants and weird legends. One of these bits of local lore is the Harrow Lake’s own boogieman, called Mister Jitters. It’s a puppet and get blamed for everything. All of this is a recipe for weirdness. Lola, still trying to figure out her place in the world, slowly heads in darker and stranger things.

Kat Ellis captivates the reader with every word. We get a steady drip of horror throughout, slowly building up to a surprising series of twists and turns that would delight any fan of spooky stories. Scary but fun, Harrow Lake is a book that you will tear through and then read again.

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