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The Auctioneer

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,377 ratings  ·  275 reviews
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
Paperback, 260 pages
Published January 14th 2014 by Centipede Press (first published 1975)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,377 ratings  ·  275 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greed, horror, hardboiled
”Just remember this,” he said in a deep voice that cut neatly through the confusion. “Whatever I’ve done, you’ve let me do.”

 photo auctioneer_zpsbbfpfmdw.jpg

When Perly Dunsmore 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
4.5/5 stars!

Evil in a small town is one of my favorite horror tropes and books like this are the reason why!

Harlowe, 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 Dunsmore 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
Grady Hendrix
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 ex ...more
4.5 stars.

THE 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 Carberg.

This novel takes place in a farming community called Harlowe. In a quiet, 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,
Cody | CodysBookshelf
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 Dunsmore, 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
Alex (The Bookubus)
This is an excellent example of 'quiet 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 one.

The 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
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stumbled across on online discussion praising this book and when my local library had a copy I decided to give it a try.

An 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 rece
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m not entirely sure this wasn’t Bentley Little writing under a pen name…of 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 quickly 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 story.

I also need to give a shout out to Valancourt Bo
Maria Hill AKA MH Books
Picture me confused - why is this classified as horror? This is literary Fiction at its finest. It slowly quietly snuck into my veins. Then the ending blew me away.

This is the very real story of how one single individual can change a whole town for the worse but only because they let him do it. So why did they let him do it you may ask? I see one of my GR friends starts with the quote ”Just remember this,” he said in a deep voice that cut neatly through the confusion. “Whatever I’ve done, you’v
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror-thriller
The creepiest thing about this book is that my copy has a child's scribbling throughout it. A very unexpected (but appreciated) element to a story about a community losing its identity through lose of physical and emotional and familial possessions. Who was the Auctioneer? More troubling perhaps is: Are we not all the Auctioneer at times?

I wish there were more books of this caliber written in this genre. Any suggestions?
Jan 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I don't remember where/how I heard about this book about two years ago. When I looked up Ms. Samson, and found out it was her only novel (she was writing her second, when she passed away from that frikkin cancer), I thought I'd look at my local used bookstore, and she had a copy.
Her debut is a claustrophobic, slow boiling terror that's taking over a small town in New Hampshire. The effects of a charismatic stranger, with big plans for their quiet town...could happen anywhere. Great atmosphere an
Janelle Janson
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, horror, night-worms
The cool thing about this cult classic is it’s been reintroduced back into the mainstream by Valancourt Books. Originally written in 1975, it’s now in a snazzy paperback with an introduction by one of my favorite authors, Grady Hendrix. Set in Harlowe, New Hampshire in a farm community, we meet an intriguing kind of evil. Perly Dunsmore is the town’s auctioneer and recently inquired an old mansion to set up shop. The auctions are funded by the residents’ donations and are meant to benefit the co ...more
Jessica Woodbury
4.5 stars. What a find! It is, frankly, embarrassing that I had never heard of this book before I found it on Audible a few days ago. And it's truly tragic that this is Samson's only novel because I would very much like to read a dozen more. (She died young shortly after it was published.) Shame on all of us for leaving this book behind when we should be talking about it constantly. This is the only thing I have ever read that I would compare to Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," and that is quite ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-tbr
"She was swept with an awe at his power. It required a reversal of everything she wanted and believed to think that such power--whatever its devious route--could be directed at ends that were anything but right and good."

It's always terrifying when a book published over 40 years ago is eerily relevant in a political sense. Although The Auctioneer deals with a story that is particular to the town its set in, the atmosphere that Joan Samson builds hits a little too close to home.

The auctioneer, P
Mar 16, 2015 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This is the first hardcover edition of the book published by Simon And Schuster in 1975 and has 240 pages.
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
A shady auctioneer named Percy Dunsmoore is terrorizing a small town named Harlowe by taking people's property selling them on his numerous auctions. Things got out of hand when he starts selling children and land. Suddenly a little town has more police than New York City per capita. John Moore seems to loose everything, even his cows are taken away from him but then the tables are turning. The book has a bit of a long winded start. Language is very rural/authentic and there's not much action go ...more
Jan 14, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, read_2021, own
The horror genre is incredibly diverse and has become my genre of choice by virtue of that fact. The Auctioneer is a prime example of the many facets of evil which exist within horror. This is all about isolation with an omnipresent sense of foreboding and helplessness hanging over every word like a rain-swelled storm cloud. Whilst a slow burn, The Auctioneer is a deceptively quick read filled with memorable moments and colourful characters.
Linda  Branham Greenwell
This is a book that you won't forget. It was written in the 70's and I read it way back then when it was new. I am going to reread this book. It is a story that will unnerve you. It takes place in a small country town. An auctioneer comes to town... and is trying to get started in business. The towns' people want to help him out, so they clean out their old items to help him get started... but then he KEEPS coming around. It brings to mind the quote:
"All that is needed for evil to flourish is f
Philip Fracassi
Aug 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre
Look, with all due respect to Joan Samson, who tragically died of cancer within weeks of this book's publication, and who is a wonderful writer, this book is more theme than story. Here's what I mean by that:

The whole premise of this story is based on the idea that a bunch of farmers with acres and acres of land they've owned for generations would allow an outsider to "smooth-talk" them into giving away a) All their earthly belongings b) All their cattle and livestock c) All their GUNS d) Their
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The auctioneer is Perly Dunsmore. A newcomer to Harlowe, he preaches the virtue of the good old-fashioned values the town still has. He plays off the town’s fears of the threat of the outside world, slowly manipulating his way into their trust and admiration. He has the type of charisma that draws the most clear-headed away from their senses and soon the people of Harlowe are all his willing victims.

John and Mim Moore, along with John’s elderly Ma and their young daughter Hildie, run a farm tha
Aaron Martz
Sep 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
The evil in this book is so relentless and frustrating I thought I was going to get an ulcer reading it. You want the characters to stand up for themselves, to put a stop to it, but they keep letting themselves be bowled over, and the most disturbing thing is that if you were put in their position, you wouldn't do anything differently. Samson has fashioned an airtight plot of implacable, undermining, greedy, logical, progressive evil, the kind of evil that creeps up on you an inch at a time unti ...more
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
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 ...more
Bill Hsu
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
I like the basic concept, though it was telegraphed early on. These days, I'm afraid I have little patience for this kind of chatty, gossipy rural Americana. Nice cover. ...more
Alex | | findingmontauk1
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lohf
It's a surreal thing when you are reading a book written almost 50 years ago that still has some relevance to current political and social events. And it's an even bigger travesty that Joan Samson did not make it around to put out more books... because she's got major chops! She created something, at the time, extremely original, compelling, immersive, and chilling.

We get to follow a family who enjoy their simple life in their simple town. They are just going about everyday routines when a stran
Rob Twinem
Good old fashioned horror A good old fashioned horror story from the 70's with none off the gratuitous sex and violence offered in so many publications today and sometimes that is no bad thing in fact at times quite refreshing. Set in a small New Hampshire town of Harlowe the story revolves around a hard working farmer John Moore, his wife Miriam (Mim) and their four year old daughter Hildie. This is a close-knit community where families and friends share their lives, loves,problems and successe ...more
Mar 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horror, owned
I struggled with my rating. I think it was probably a nice allegory for its time (and our time), but it strikes me as too obvious and therefore inelegant, if that makes any sense. As I assume Samson is trying to write a story at a higher level, I found the morality a little too black and white, the evil city slicker/outsider and the noble country people of the earth. The suckers are also too easily suckered and cowed for too long. The attempts at paranoia weren’t that effective.

Pare this down to
Octavia (ReadsWithDogs)
"An old-time Yankee auction is the crossroads of America. An old time Yankee auction is where the best of the old meets the best of the new. It's where recycling meets up with the old saying,
"Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.' It's where the best of the old-timers meet the best of the newcomers. You've got people on your right and people on your left. You've all got things to offer, and I sincerely hope that this here seventh old time Harlowe auction will help you get together."
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Classic Trash: The Auctioneer: In Progress (No Spoilers) 6 10 Oct 07, 2020 05:27PM  
Classic Trash: The Auctioneer: Finished (Spoilers) 4 7 Oct 06, 2020 10:21PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Duplicate edition and wrong/missing information 8 23 Sep 08, 2020 12:19PM  
Literary Horror: March 2019 Group Read: The Auctioneer 19 51 Apr 14, 2019 10:39AM  
Horror Aficionados : The Auctioneer (1975) by Joan Samson 10 44 Sep 08, 2018 08:24PM  
Forsythe's Auctions 1 7 Aug 19, 2018 11:27AM  
Valancourt Books: The Auctioneer (1975) by Joan Samson 4 20 Jul 24, 2018 04:30PM  

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Grady Hendrix is a novelist and screenwriter whose nonfiction history of the horror paperback boom of the ’70s and ’80s,...
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“Perly stood as if frozen in place, watching the turmoil beneath him spread. “Just remember this,” he said in a deep voice that cut neatly through the confusion. “Whatever I’ve done, you’ve let me do.” 2 likes
“A ripple of attention passed through the crowd. On the porch of the old Fawkes place stood the auctioneer. He was as tall as Gore, but trim and upright. Despite his red plaid shirt open at the neck, there was something sharply formal about his stance which set him apart from the country Saturday slackness of the people waiting for him. His features were fine and tense and his skin was burned almost as brown as his hair. He stood looking out over the crowd, his hands in his pockets.” 0 likes
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