Lola Nox is the daughter of acclaimed horror film director Nolan Nox. It’s just been the two of them since Lola’s mother, Lorelei, disappeared without a trace. Lola likes to think that nothing can spook her, but one night she comes home and discovers her father lying in a pool of blood. As he recovers, Lola is sent to Harrow Lake to stay with her maternal grandmother.
Harrow Lake is where her parents met and also the place where Nolan filmed his most famous movie, Nightjar. It’s a weird town which depends on its celebrity for revenue, hosting a week-long festival each summer to give fans of the film the opportunity to check out the locations. The man who picks Lola up at the airport tells her to “never go into Harrow Lake woods on a moonless night, or the trees might mistake you for one of their own.”
All sorts of weird things start happening to Lola in Harrow Lake. First her suitcase disappears and she has to go around town dressed in the costumes her mother wore in the movie. There’s no cell service or working landline. The townsfolk are strange, although she does meet Cora and Carter, a brother and sister whose mother was once friends with Lorelei. If things are off-kilter for Lola, they’re even more wackadoodle for readers.
Harrow Lake is haunted by Mister Jitters. Cora tells Lola that
Mister Jitters lived alone out in the woods with no family, no friends – kind of an outcast nobody wanted to know unless they were in the market to buy what he was selling, you know? He hid his moonshine in the underground tunnels that run all around the lake, but he got caught in a cave-in when the land shifted in twenty-eight.
Apparently Mister Jitters survived by eating human flesh “so he started hunting for people to drag back to his lair to eat.” This legend is legitimized by the fact that every so often, people go missing in Harrow Lake.
There’s a lot going on in Kat Ellis’ book. Family drama and secrets, repressed memories, and imaginary friends who may not be all that imaginary are just a few of the elements that ramp up the tension. It’s a lot, I have to admit, and some of the time I wasn’t even sure I knew exactly what was going on. Lola is a character to root for, though, and the book is definitely a fun read if you are a fan if things that literally go bump in the night.