Agony's Lodestone, by Laura Keaton

9 Apr 2023

The Book

Agony's Lodestone
Pages: 116
Age Group: Adult
Published on 14 Apr 2023
Publisher: Tenebrous Press


The night Joanne went missing, Aggie’s world ended.

When a videotape arrives twenty years later containing hints of their sister’s fate, Aggie and her two remaining siblings set off in search of answers and closure. As they track Joanne’s last known movements to the rocky Atlantic coast, their surroundings embrace them almost too completely, and the cryptic tape’s message changes. And changes. And changes again.

Lost in a labyrinthine forest that shifts right in front of their eyes; trapped, exhausted, and pushed to their limits; by day, Aggie and her family struggle to defy the unearthly force that has taken hold of their fate, while by night a hideous figure stalks them from the shadows.  

My Review

Do you know that sensation that you have while reading a novella that makes exceptional use of your favourite elements in the horror genre? That was exactly what I had while reading Agony's Lodestone, by Laura Keaton, a novella that shows great potential.

Joanne disappeared twenty years ago, a wound that is opened after her siblings found a tape that can give new clues about this mystery. In what seems an homage to the found footage genre, the tape only creates new questions that they should answer by traveling to the place those images were taken.

And in the travel to the Canadian coast is where Keating shows her skill at creating an oppressive atmosphere during the trail toward the forests, weaving a sense of cosmic horror that works in an excellent way in combination with the structure used for those chapters.
Dividing them onto two parts, one remembering the past of the family, how the wound was created; and a second that goes more about the trip and how it is becoming a terrific experience that at the same time is working as a catharsis over the traumatic disappearance.

The atmosphere created by Keaton is excellent, being oppressive with a touch of cosmic horror that works perfectly, that feels pretty similar to the one present in Blair's Witch Project. The fact that characters can redeem themselves instead of having to suffer a painful end is a good novelty, showing that not necessarily horror needs a bad ending.

I loved Agony's Lodestone, it feels like an homage to my favourite elements in the horror genre, and the way the chapters are structured works pretty well, making the pacing excellent. If you like speculative horror, give this novella a try, because you will certainly enjoy it.

The Author/s

Laura Keating

Laura Keating

Laura Keating is a horror writer from St. Andrews, New Brunswick.

Her short fiction has been published by Grindhouse Press, Cemetery Gates, Ghost Orchid Press, and others. She authors stories about monsters both human and unnatural, traditional creep-fests, and contemporary quiet horror filled with dread.

Her debut novella, AGONY'S LODESTONE, is due for release April 14, 2023 from Tenebrous Press.

A collection of her short fiction will be released in summer of the same year.

She lives in Montreal with her husband, son, two cats, and possibly one ghost.

To learn more, please follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.