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.
Starting the story with an interview between a reporter and Lola’s film director father one year later, we learn two things – that Lola’s father survives the attack described in the first couple of chapters, and that Lola is missing. Lola’s initial frustrations with her father and her sheltered life, trailing from movie set to movie set made me wonder if something sinister happened, or if she simply decided she had enough.
Lola moves to her Mother’s hometown after her father Nolan was attacked, the town used in his most famous film, Nightjar, where he met Lola’s mother. The residents of the town seemed as if they were hiding something and Lola’s Grandmother annoyed me to death with her demands and judgmental tone. I started to see just how emotionally abusive Lola’s father was, and how sheltered she was from the world.
Everything quickly got darker and creepier as the book progressed, and I could see Lola’s personality slowly changing. There were moments where her thoughts turned to violence. Lola started discovering more secrets about her mother but questioned if they were true, or if her Grandmother was covering up a much darker secret, which lead to the shocking revelations at the end of the book.
The plot twists blew me away, and I left the book feeling pretty happy with the conclusion. But sitting down later and really thinking about the story, this story contained a lot of abandoned plot points that really needed explaining fully, because they weren’t even loosely explained away, they were literally just dropped. Also, the word ‘Optimal’ was used 37 times in total, which is decidedly not an optimal amount.