Hope Wharf – by Mark Towse – Book Review – Novella

Hey everyone! Today I’m reviewing Hope Wharf, by Mark Towse. This will be a non-spoiler review.

Hope Wharf is an idyllic town surrounded by crystal blue waters and home to approximately two hundred residents, including best friends Ryan and Zac. There’s only one road in and one road out, and the locals like it that way, happy to cater to the tourists during the holiday season and keen to get their idyllic town back in the off-season. It sounds perfect, but there’s a catch. The last time a local allegedly tried to leave town, they were found on the side of the road with mist coming out of every orifice. Tourists can come and go as they please, but it’s forbidden for locals to leave, and from an early age, children are told about what happens if they try, poor old Tommy Nicholls used as an example. Ryan and Zac are keen to uncover the town’s secrets and arrange a midnight stroll down Mulville Road to test the rumours out for themselves.

This novella took me for a ride! I never knew where it was going to go. During the course of reading, I made the following notes, all in different places…

“Is it sirens?!”

“Weird government mist experiment?!”


“Oh wait, it’s like a Pied Piper sort of thing?”

In case you haven’t guessed, I was not correct with any of these assumptions. I don’t think that my mystery-solving skills are up to snuff right now. The Pennywise assumption, whilst being the most ridiculous theory, came from the very heavy feeling that something in this town was feeding off the people in it. It was painted as such a lovely and idyllic place by daylight, but when the night crept in, so did a very solid eerie, lurking danger. I felt cold reading the night time parts – it was great! This difference between day and night was definitely my favourite thing about the story – the author created two different worlds in one (and then another, actually), and he did it with a lot of skill.

Ryan and Zac are relatable and sweet characters – best friends – and I was always worried about them. When they start experiencing things, my heart jumped into my mouth. I just had no idea where this story was going to go, and I was scared!

It did start to drag a little at the midway point, but then picked back up again as it hurtled towards its conclusion and… oh dear dark lord… that conclusion! It shot off in a truly dark and delectable direction – much darker than I thought it was going. MUCH darker.

Overall, an enjoyable and eerie read, that amps up the horror as it goes along. I’d recommend it to people who enjoy supernatural horror, mysteries, and – weirdly – people who enjoy summer beach reading?! I know that’s an odd thing to say about a horror book, but I stand by it!

If you’d like to get your own copy, you can find it here:


If you’d like to check out the author, you can find him here:


If you’d like to browse the publisher that released the novella, you can find them here:


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