I write YA thrillers with a touch of the weird. I’m represented by Molly Ker Hawn of The Bent Agency. I have published 3 YA novels (BLACKFIN SKY, BREAKER, and PURGE) and one novella (THE TWINS OF BLACKFIN in the THREE STRIKES collection). My next book, HARROW LAKE, will be published summer 2020 by Penguin Random House (Puffin UK/Kathy Dawson Books). When I’m not writing, I’m either reading, doing my amateur photographer thing (you can check out my pics on Instagram if you like), or watching scary films with my husband.
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.
Lola absolutely does not want to go to Harrow Lake. The home place of the mother that abandoned her and the site where ‘Nightjar’ her fathers most famous film was shot. But after her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment she has nowhere else to go and so she is shipped off to live with a Grandmother she has never met. Not one for superstitions she is sceptical at first after hearing of the towns infamous horror story Mr Jitters, is he real or just a story to explain the strange disappearances of young girls. But then things start happening, things that Lola can’t explain. As she delves further into the history of Harrow Lake, desperate for information on her mother, she starts to wonder whether Mr Jitters really does exist, and if he does, who exactly is his next target.
Lola comes across as a bit spoilt at the beginning of the book, but we get a better understanding of her behaviour, and the reasons behind it, the more we read. She acts out because she feels its the only way her father will see her, a father who likes to keep her hidden, away from the spotlight that comes with his career. She is the epitome of an unreliable narrator, past trauma and present setting means that we as the reader find it hard to believe exactly what she is saying/seeing. This really adds to the mystery of the book and as the reader has you questioning everything. She is an easy character to bond with, and I couldnt help but hope she got a good outcome.
Harrow Lake is your stereo-typical small American town, set in days gone past, getting by by promoting the one thing that will bring visitors, Lola’s dads film. With its small town feel comes its small town mystery and the horror stories that come with it. We see multiple perspectives on ‘Mr Jitters’ the town monsters, someone who Lola’s mother apparently knew, the town monster that used to eat people and still takes girls from the town to this day. Is is slightly par for the course when reading a mystery/thriller? Yes. But that didn’t stop it from creeping the hell out of me. Every time I heard the ‘scratches’ that announced My Jitters arrival I could feel my heart racing, and this was definitely a book that I stuck to reading in daytime hours.
The story is well paced and easily keeps you guessing. I enjoyed the authors writing and style and thought it gave an easy kind of flow to the story. Her ability to build the tension was impressive, especially considering most of the time nothing actually ‘happened’ and the few times things did I found it hard to tear myself away from the pages, not quite wanting to read on and yet needing to know the outcome.
My one issue would be I felt there were a whole host of unresolved questions at the end of the book & I feel like it some parts could have been made a bit clearer. This is not a genre I would usually pick up, but I enjoyed the story the flow of the authors writing style and liked reading from Lola’s perspective.