The Auctioneer by Joan Samson
Paperback – Valancourt Books – 2020 – 235 pages
In the isolated farming community of Harlowe, New Hampshire, where life has changed little over the past several decades, John Moore and his wife Mim work the land that has been in his family for generations. But from the moment the charismatic Perly Dinsmore arrives in town and starts soliciting donations for his auctions, things begin slowly and insidiously to change in Harlowe. As the auctioneer carries out his terrible, inscrutable plan, the Moores and their neighbors will find themselves gradually but inexorably stripped of their freedom, their possessions, and perhaps even their lives.
A chilling masterpiece of terror whose sense of creeping menace and dread increases page by page, Joan Samson’s The Auctioneer (1975) is a rediscovered classic of 20th-century fiction. With echoes of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and Stephen King’s Needful Things, Samson’s novel returns to print at last in this long-awaited new edition, which features an introduction by Grady Hendrix