Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Time's up; pencils down

For some reason memories often pop up without any reference to what I'm doing. One of those memories is a terrifying book by Joan Samson called The Auctioneer. I picked up the book as an impulse purchase and the story creeps into my nightmares from time to time. I wasn't dreaming when the book crossed my mind this morning. I had just finished writing another piece for the Chicken Soup books about cats.

The Auctioneer is one of the most horrifying books I've read. It creeps up on you and takes you over more with such a simple and innocuous start: an auctioneer comes to a rural community. What happens is insidious and will stick with you long after you put down the book. I read the story more than 20 years ago when it first came out. I haven't read it since, but it popped into my mind this morning. Then I went looking for the more books by the same author.

I didn't find them.

Like Harper Lee, Joan Samson only published one book. Unlike Harper Lee, Samson died the year after the book was published at the ripe old age of 39. She probably had a lot more books in her, but not much time. Her book lives on and is set for re-release August 2007. Now that is staying power. What's more, it has never been out of print.

From what I could find out, the book was once optioned for a movie that was never made. With the new release of the book in hardback (again), I hope some director has enough intelligence to put this one on the fast track.

If you want true horror, check out the book. Buy it, rent it, borrow it from the library or get it second-hand at Amazon or Alibris. You won't regret it.

I'll bet Joan Samson thought she had more time to write more books, but the sand had run out of her hourglass.