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10 thoughts on “The Auctioneer

  1. says:

    ”Just remember this” he said in a deep voice that cut neatly through the confusion “Whatever I’ve done you’ve let me do” When Perly Duns moves to Harlowe New Hampshire with his auctioneering company and starts espousing the natural beauty of the community he is mostly regarded as a man a few slices short of a full loaf Most of the people in Harlowe have been on the land for many generations and for most of the year they exist at a sustainable level They are poor and don’t know it They raise a lot of their own food and trade for what they don’t have They are salt of the earth people suspicious of strangers and content with what they have When Perly decides to start having a regular auction every week there are snorts of laughter and several shaking heads over this fool from out of town thinking he could make money in Harlowe Perly decides that the first auctions should be held as a benefit to add a deputy to the police force Deputy? They barely needed a sheriff Well there was that person hacked up not too long ago but then that crime must have been committed by a stranger passing through town right? Because no one around here would kill someoneThe sheriff comes around looking for donations stuff that people aren’t using anyway Everybody pitches in because no one wants to be seen as not helping the community and everyone ends up with a check after the auction Cash money is as scarce as hen’s teeth Then there is an auction to help the volunteer firemen Perly puts advertisements in papers as far away as Boston for people to come to the auction And people comePerly doesn’t seem to be as crazy as everyone thinks John and Mim Moore have a four year old daughter named Hildie John’s mother lives with them Several generations of Moore’s are buried up on the hill resting under poison oak and the dust of many seasons They clean out the barn of all the stuff they aren’t using anyway for the auctions and then the attic Every week the Sheriff sometimes accompanied by the honey worded Perly stops by to see if there is to be contributed The weekly contribution is becoming something than voluntary ”’Does it mean so much to you? I know the pleasures of a dressing table to a good looking woman But there are other things better schools for Hildie year round church ready cash comfortsI know what I want’Mim could not move without flailing out at the man and making him back off and she trembled from the effort of suppressing her need to do so‘Comfort’ he said almost fiercely’You’ve never known much comfort have you Mim?’Mim raised her eyes to Perly’s blue and defiantPerly dropped his gaze to Mim’s hands pressed flat and angry against the wall behind her Slowly he raised his eyes to Mim’s again his face curling into lines of pleasure perhaps of triumph’You and I will have to get together someday Mim’ he said ’I admire a woman with grit’ Then with his own glittering stillness he held Mim motionless against the wall while the clock in the kitchen chimed over and over again When she dropped her eyes he moved uietly away”I wanted to share this scene because it conveys the simmering menacing uneasiness that permeates the whole novel Perly keeps adding and deputies who are really just there to keep the contributions coming for the auctions People give and give and give until all they have left is the land and Perly has plans for that as well There are so many points in the novel where I wanted the Moore’s to make a stand To push back but when others in the community push back unfortunate misadventures happen to them Everyone has families and having families makes it natural for strong men to be afraid It almost seems implausible the level of control that Perly achieves over this community but it is so gradual that by the time people realize how bad it is it is almost too late I kept thinking to myself where is my line in the sand? Where do I make my stand and say no ? How do I do that and keep my family safe? Joan SamsonThere is very little to share about Joan Samson unfortunately She passed away shortly after the publication of The Auctioneer from cancer She was 39 years old and was working on a second novel If she had lived there was a good chance that she would have surpassed the work of Shirley Jackson or at least be mentioned in the same sentence as the famous gothic horror writer This book has fallen into obscurity but like other novels I’ve reviewed on Goodreads a perfect example being Mortal Leap by MacDonald Harris I’m simply not going to let this book stay a lost novel It is a wonderful example of gothic horror with superb writing that will make you feel the mounting terror as options for these good people shrink to the size of a mustard seed If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at

  2. says:

    455 starsEvil in a small town is one of my favorite horror tropes and books like this are the reason whyHarlowe New Hampshire is a small town surrounded by small farms It's a tightly knit community or at least the townsfolk believe it is until an outsider comes to town and slowly things begin to unravel Perly Duns is an auctioneer Taking over a recently available old mansion in town due to the death of the previous owner Perly sets about improving Harlowe by holding auctions to benefit the police department These auctions are funded by the generous donations of the townspeople Until they're no longer able to do so eventually there's nothing left in which case they are gently and uietly threatened to come up with donations or ELSE Will Harlowe survive these auctions or will it rise up against Perly in protest? You'll have to read this to find outI've been thinking about what this novel was really about and I'm still not uite sure The strongest feeling I have about it relates to that old poem First they came for the Socialists but that's not uite right Then I was wondering if it was really about fascism the auctions after all first funded a police department to the point of having almost as many officers and deputies as there were citizens in the entire town But that doesn't uite fit the bill either especially in light of the finale Then I finally gave up the analyzing and endeavored to enjoy this novel for the yummy atmospheric piece of horror fiction that it was If this is the type of story that usually works for you uiet small town horror a la Tryon's HARVEST HOME or maybe Michael Rowe's ENTER NIGHT I highly recommend you give this book a shot I listened to it on audio narrated by Matt Godfrey whose voicing of Ma Moore I will never forgetAtmospheric full of tension and fear THE AUCTIONEER still holds up as an excellent tale even now 40 years later I give it my highest recommendationI received this audiobook from the narrator in exchange for my honest feedback This is it Further I consider Matt Godfrey to be a friend although we've never met in person This has not affected the content of this review

  3. says:

    A brief bestseller when it debuted in 1975 Joan Samson’s The Auctioneer has been totally forgotten Sites like Will Errickson’s Too Much Horror Fiction have kept its tiny flame from becoming completely extinguished but it’s basically a literary shooting star that flared once and was gone Contributing to its short shelf life Samson wrote The Auctioneer in her 30s and died of cancer shortly after it was published Her death is our loss This is one of those books you stumble across with no expectations and when you finished reading you think “Why isn’t this famous?” Spare unforgiving and hard all the way down the line if Cormac McCarthy had written Needful Things you’d get The AuctioneerRead the rest of this review

  4. says:

    45 starsTHE AUCTIONEER by Joan Samson was first issued in 1976 This new edition released by Valancourt Books in 2018 comes with an all new introduction by Grady Hendrix as well as an afterword by the author's husband Warren CarbergThis novel takes place in a farming community called Harlowe In a uiet peaceful American town where change is very slow to come John and Mim Moore farm the land that John's family had owned for many generations With their beautiful four year old daughter Hildie and John's mother Ma living with them we have a perfect postcard picture of perhaps a simpler time in AmericaHowever the author is uick to show the slow and calculating terror that can overcome a community almost before they even realize what's happening In this case it all starts with a newcomer named Perly Duns and his slight reuest for old items to be donated to his planned auctions When your life turns into a lie the first person you need to deceive is yourself Samson weaves this tale with exact precision We'll get a taste of the happy Moore family going about their everyday duties together and then a small intrusion into their slice of paradise to give the first stirrings of troubleTHE AUCTIONEER is not in your face horror but a much subtle slowly mounting terror that takes a while to reach its peak Nonetheless once it starts the emotions losses and their implications never let up the fear is always present ratcheting up inexorably page by page He won't stop There are people like that Either you give in or you run The language used is beautiful in its simplicity We learn as much of how these changes are slowly devastating their traditional way of life by what is NOT stated as we do by what is The omissions; usual outings that are cancelled and the strain upon the household shows us than words could convey This was true not only in households but also in interactions between neighbors They talked the way they always had except that now the familiar conversations seemed to be built on a silence as deep as the one that prevailed at home Overall I felt this was a brilliantly executed story that showcases how unwanted change can stealthily creep in on even the most complacent of towns We are shown the old time values and how they contrast with newer lifestyles in populated regions Even the most loyal of citizens can be taken in by smooth talking charlatans if the topic is rightWhen things are beyond out of hand how would you react and how far would you go to protect your family and your way of life?Recommended

  5. says:

    What happens when good people do nothing?A searing hot read through and through The Auctioneer — the author’s only release due to dying of cancer the year after publication — barrels forward like a race car I was hooked from page one helpless to put it down A stranger has come to Harlowe a small farm town in New Hampshire The stranger Perly Duns has lived in forty countries and done business all over the world — he just oozes charm — and he’s chosen to move in to town a place that reminds him of where he grew up And with money and persuasion he soon gains control of the local police forceThe story unfolds from the perspective of John Moore a local farmer and his family Through them Samson captures a gritty realistic ‘American’ perspective circa 1975 The stranger holds weekly auctions for townies and strangers using items donated by citizens of Harlowe Duns wants to use the money raised for expanding the police force and building up the town It starts with old wheels and moth bitten clothes But it doesn’t stop there Though this book can certainly be read as an allegorical examination of the dangers of fascism with the increase of police in town too increases crime and ‘hive’ mentality — that’s the way I read it and it is from this interpretation so much of the horror comes — this can also be read as a straightforward horror story a’la Shirley Jackson Think “The Lottery” on a bigger scale Or Needful Things as written by Richard Bachman This is the sort of novel I love It is a total success; I could not put it down It is a shame this title has fallen into such obscurity but a used copy can be obtained online for a relatively reasonable price My highest recommendation

  6. says:

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  7. says:

    I stumbled across on online discussion praising this book and when my local library had a copy I decided to give it a tryAn interesting look at the power of persuasion namely the control one man is able to exert on a small rural New England township In today's current environment of instant availability of news and information it can be difficult to imagine a time when people were still fairly isolated from the outside world and even their neighbors Things start innocently enough when a recently arrived auctioneer convinces the sole policeman to visit the residents asking for contributions to raise money for a new deputyThe auctioneer Perly Duns has some not so innocent long range plans Duns is one of these people who has an uncanny ability to use charm subtle persuasion innuendo implied threats and shame to bend the community to his willThe primary focus of the story is the Moore family John his wife Mim their four year old daughter Hildie and John's elderly mother who all live together on one of the small farms on the outskirts of the townshipAs the demands on the family and the community become costly it is fascinating to watch just how far John and Mim will go to protect their family How much will they give up? As the pressure mounts the strain on the family and their bonds stretches to the breaking pointHow long do you wait for someone else to step up and speak out As I'm reading I keep thinking to myself there is no way I would let these things happen I would like to believe this to be true But as I think about my own family I can't help but wonder just what I would be willing to give up to protect my loved ones810

  8. says:

    This is an excellent example of 'uiet horror' It's a slow burn of a story that gets under your skin fills you with anxiety and pulls the rug out from beneath your feet If you like stories set in small towns where people are the real monsters I'd definitely recommend this oneThe story follows the Moore family John and Mim their young daughter Hildie and John's elderly mother known as Ma They run a farm in the small town of Harlowe in New Hampshire They live a hard life with minimal mod cons no proper bathroom having to heat water on the stove to wash living off the produce of their landThen we meet Perly Duns He rocks up into town and charms the locals with his big plans It starts off with a couple of auctions If everyone can donate a few things the money raised at auction can go to fund the pretty much non existent local police force But before they know it things get out of hand and as 'accidents' happen they are unable to say noThis is an excellently written novel Bleak and filled with dread and helplessness It says a lot about American values and the American way Owning land and having a home with your family is seen as not only a goal but also a right It deals with themes of small town community and politics mob mentality progress versus tradition The story went to a couple of places that I wasn't expecting and I thought the ending was perfectly fitting

  9. says:

    Valancourt Books recently brought this 70's horror classic back from obscurity and I immediately picked it up I had been hearing some buzz around the rerelease and I was excited to read something that a number of people really enjoyed Grady Hendrix who single handedly started the vintage horror paperback revival with his excellent book Paperbacks From Hell wrote the introduction for this edition and I was excited for that as well Hendrix knows and loves these classic horror stories and it's always interesting to hear what his opinion is on a particular title Essentially this book remained an underground classic for the long duration of time that it remained out of print Collectors would search for copies wherever there could find one and readers would pass around paperbacks to share the experience with fellow horror lovers The book continued to be sought after and shared for 30 years after it had gone out of print and then finally Valancourt release this edition in the wake of the 70s and 80s horror fiction revivalJohn and Mim Moore live in the isolated farming community of Harlowe New Hampshire with John's mother Ma and their young daughter Hildie They live on a farm that has been in John's family for generations and they adore the simple and uiet life they have created for themselves Then one day Perly Duns the titular Auctioneer arrives in town and before they know it everyone in Harlowe has their lives turned upside down Perly starts by helping the citizens get rid of the junk that has collected in their barns and attics but he doesn't stop there Perly has big plans for the town of Harlowe and none of those plans have any of the current citizens in mindI found myself truly hating Perly and feeling an intense frustration with John for not doing anything to stop him or help his family Perly is an antagonist that is meant to be hated but John is far complex He's a man who is truly torn He doesn't want to admit defeat and leave the only home he has ever known and so he puts his family in increasingly tension filled and dangerous situations that truly had me on the edge of my seat I had no idea how this one was going to end and I'm happy to say I think Samson wrote a very strong ending I didn't expect it and it was refreshing to not be able to predict where a story is headingI've heard nothing but praise for this novel and all the buzz is true I highly recommend The Auctioneer It's a tense and unnerving novel that will definitely get under your skin

  10. says:

    I’m not entirely sure this wasn’t Bentley Little writing under a pen nameof course he would have been a teenager but you see what I’m sayin’“We’re having an auction” Now pony up some stuff All of it I listened to this on audio and it was great Matt Godfrey is uickly becoming one of my favorite narrators The dude has serious skills and I have thoroughly enjoyed everything that I have listened to from him Absolutely perfect for the storyI also need to give a shout out to Valancourt Books who has been re releasing some truly excellent rare and out of print fiction Kudos and please keep it up “I was given this free review copy audiobook at my reuest and have voluntarily left this honest review

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Summary ô E-book, or Kindle E-pub ´ Joan Samson

An insidious stranger impossible to resistPublished 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 gripp view spoiler Bettie's Books hide spoiler

Free read The Auctioneer

The Auctioneer

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 455 starsEvil in a small town is one of my favorite horror tropes a Detour de France possessions his courage and his hopes by the ominous Breeds of Men presence of 455 starsEvil in a small town is one of my favorite horror tropes a

Summary ô E-book, or Kindle E-pub ´ Joan Samson

Ing tale of greed in a small town being uietly overrun by auctioneer Perly Duns 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 year Valancourt Books recently brought this 70's horror classic back fro