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Friday, August 14, 2020

Review: The Auctioneer by Joan Samson

The Auctioneer 
by Joan Samson

Publisher: Centipede Press
Publish Date: January 14, 2014 (first published 1975)
260 Pages
Genre: Horror

Harrowing tensions explode in a series of events that could happen anywhere, to anyone, just as they do to John Moore—whose days of freedom run out, who is stripped of his possessions, his courage, and his hopes, by the ominous presence of an insidious stranger impossible to resist.

Published to wide acclaim in 1976, but almost neglected since then, The Auctioneer is a bona fide classic of American literature. The story of John Moore, his wife Mim, and his mother, it is a gripping tale of greed in a small town being quietly overrun by auctioneer Perly Dunsmore. Acclaimed by writers including Stephen King, and an influence on King’s Needful Things, The Auctioneer is here reprinted for the first time in thirty years.

My Review:

Now this is the type of quiet horror that I absolutely fall in love with.  A lot of horror today is overly descriptive and more shock value at times rather than the build of your own imagination... which for me, always leaves a layer of evil that I truly appreciate.  Samson gives us the opportunity to use our own imaginations.  This is definitely a slow burn of a horror story.  The beginning was almost a bit too slow for my taste and I kept wondering when some action was going to take place.  But the brilliance of this read is the INACTION and what that means for the storyline's deeper self.

I'm not sure I've ever felt as frustrated towards a characters as I did Moore.  *Loud sigh* But within that frustration was also a sympathy and understanding.  If you were in Moore's shoes, would you have behaved the same way? I couldn't even imagine.  

As a fan of The Lottery and Needful Things, it's no wonder The Auctioneer falls in with some of my favorite horror books.  Samson brings small town culture and the abuse of power to the forefront.  When bringing in human nature and elevating that into a suspenseful, creepy read such as The Auctioneer, I remember why horror written during these times were so subtly brilliant.


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