#TheWriteReads Blog Tour Review: Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Creepy and atmospheric but ultimately really confusing.

Thank you so much to The Write Reads, Kat Ellis, and Penguin Random House for allowing me to be part of this experience by providing me with a complimentary digital ARC via Netgalley!

Review

Book CWs

  • Character Death
  • Attempted Murder
  • Abuse
  • Paranormal Creatures

Premise

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 Lola’s every move.

The more she 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…

Review (No Spoilers)

I’m writing this review immediately after finishing the book so forgive me if I ramble at certain points (I’ll be sure to read this over again before I post it just so you’re not reading complete nonsense). This book has given me a LOT of feelings and I’m still trying to sort through them. I’m hoping that writing this as soon as possible will allow me to get out everything I need to say.

I read around 54% of this book in one day and I was really enjoying it. Very early on, the writing made me feel as if I was in the book experiencing everything alongside the MC. I was particularly amazed by how the book succeeded in making me feel unnerved, even when nothing particularly “scary” was happening. Unfortunately, around half-way through the book, the tone seemed to drastically shift and I wasn’t quite sure what was happening. From then on, the book seemed to go back and forth between a style that I loved and a style that baffled me. It kind of felt as if there were two books about the same plot being merged together. One was an all-out, full-of-monsters horror. The other– which was the one I was enjoying for the first half of the book–was a super creepy psychological thriller. I think that either book would have been great on its own; they just didn’t go well together.

One of the things that this book excelled in (perhaps too much) was making you question almost everything you were reading. For me, this is a tool that works very well as long as you tie everything up in the end. When I reached the end of this book, I still didn’t quite understand what I had read and I was swallowed in confusion. If this was the type of reaction the author was hoping for, then right on. It’s just not the kind of ending I myself like to reach.

The last thing that I wanted to mention is that the entire time that I was reading, I couldn’t stop thinking about how it would make a great movie. To be quite honest, I kept imagining it as a Jordan Peele movie and it made me enjoy it a lot more. I think it has a lot of potential to be a great book as well, but it has some work to do before it can get there.

The copy I read was an unedited ARC so there is still plenty of time for the story to improve! If you’re interested in horror, be sure to check out Harrow Lake when it comes out July 9th!

7 thoughts on “#TheWriteReads Blog Tour Review: Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis

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