Review: Horrid by Katrina Leno

This is a quirky and creepy read with an amazing ending.

Horrid by Katrina Leno

Published September 2020

Dark Fiction  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon 

Source: Received for Review Consideration 

From the author of You Must Not Miss comes a haunting contemporary horror novel that explores themes of mental illness, rage, and grief, twisted with spine-chilling elements of Stephen King and Agatha Christie.

Following her father's death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor's doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone...and more tormented.

As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident "bad seed," struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane's mom also seems to be spiraling with the return of her childhood home, but she won't reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the "storage room" her mom has kept locked isn't for storage at all--it's a little girl's bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears....

Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more...horrid?

My 2 Cents For Free!

I read Horrid for the Ladies of Horror Fiction Group Readalong. You can always join the chat and add your thoughts here:

Jane and her mom are relocating from CA to rural Maine when things begin because they have no other options. Jane’s dad passed away unexpectedly and left them broke. Now they’ve moved into an old abandoned estate left to them by Jane’s grandma. So they’re grieving and Jane has left everything familiar and she copes and she tries to resume living and she has all kinds of tough emotions and by some miracle of skillful writing she never goes on whiny poor me tangents and I can’t tell you how much I liked Jane. I really liked Jane. She’s full of complicated and painful emotions and she's dealing with a lot and then she has to unravel a mystery to add more misery to her pile of misery but she digs into it with everything she has. 

I thought this was a quirky and thoroughly creepy book from beginning to end. The author maintains that “dread is coming for you!” atmosphere expertly and writes her main character so well. All those tumultuous feelings, the anger, the grief, the dismay at discovering things aren’t quite what they seem and the awful truth that adults can really screw up and can royally screw you up. It’s absolute perfection. I want to say SO much more but I don’t want to ruin the experience for anyone. I did find the middle a bit draggy here and there but that could be my distracted mind. The last ¼, well that last ¼ was exactly the type of ending I hope for in my dark reads and I’d absolutely recommend sticking it out if you find it a little slow at times. It’ll be worth it, trust me on this!



  1. It's a skillful author who can insert a lot of dread in a story! It's categorized as YA on Amazon, but I don't necessarily get that vibe from the book blurb. Would you say it's YA?

    1. The main characters are young adults so it can go either way. I felt creepy horror vibes while I was reading it.

  2. Oh, Lord. That cover alone gives me the creeps.

  3. The cover has a really creepy and disturbing vibe!

    1. And the story paid off too! I hate it when a cover misleads but this one was perfect.

  4. Definitely intrigued by this... (Does it come with an abandoned estate in rural Maine? *looks hopeful*)

  5. Ohh I like the sound of this one a lot.

  6. Why do creepy things always happen in Maine? ;D

  7. This sounds SO good! I'm a sucker for any books set in my home state! :)


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