{Book Review} Last Case At A Baggage Auction: Eric J. Guignard

Last Case At A Baggage Auction: Eric J. Guignard

Reviewed By J.A. Sullivan

One of my friends is constantly going to auctions for storage lockers, estate sales, and just about any other situation where he can buy a literal truckload of stuff to resell for a great return on investment. I think it’s fascinating, but I would never join that circuit because with my luck I’d end up with a haunted item set on destroying my life. When I saw the synopsis for Last Case at a Baggage Auction by Eric J. Guignard, I felt a little vindicated that I’m not the only person to dwell on the possibility of possessed objects. And now having read it, I will absolutely never become like my friend!

The novella takes place in July 1963, Detroit, where Charlie and Joey attend an auction held by a hotel to get rid of unclaimed baggage. In the last bid of the day, Joey wins a case that contains a gramophone and a bunch of records. Once back at the apartment building where they both live, the two friends try to estimate the resale value (if any) by listening to one of the wax discs. At first, it sounds like an off-key funeral march until a voice begins chanting in Russian. Not pleasant to listen to at all, but more than that the record makes the men uneasy. As Charlie reflects, “…I felt that it somehow crept inside my breaths while I listened, the same way it climbed into my thoughts.”

Charlie agrees to take some of the records to a guy he knows who can translate them and establish their worth. In the meantime, Joey continues listening to the discs obsessively. All other thoughts and activities fall away when he hears the chanting – and I mean everything. He cancels plans with Charlie, stops leaving his apartment, and even forgets to eat. Then the obsession with the chanting starts to infect everyone in the building within earshot of the mysterious records. They also begin sharing visions of a campfire in a snowy forest, surrounded by people chanting led by a bearded man with wild eyes. And these visions start to bleed into the physical world.

I don’t want to spoil the rest of the story, so I’ll just say be prepared for a wild ride! Although the novella fits into the quiet horror subgenre, tension and dread fill the pages making this a compelling read. Guignard not only delivers a solid story, but his descriptions of the settings and characters are extremely vivid and a pleasure to linger over. One of my favourite descriptions was of the Auctioneer: “He was country fat – the kind raised on gravy and hog – and his teeth stuck out as if his mouth caught fire and every chomper tried escaping in different directions.”

On top of the wonderful writing, marvellous illustrations by Steve Lines are sprinkled through the text, adding another layer of haunting beauty to this book.

Lean, unsettling, and unforgettable, Last Case at a Baggage Auction is a tale of mystery, sacred hymns of the dead, and explores the lengths we go through to save our friends.

Last Case At A Baggage Auction

1963 Detroit is a hotbed of gambling, and the weekly baggage auctions keep a busy trade. Charlie Stewart and Joey Third are skilled in the art of successful bidding, but when Joey lands a mysterious suitcase, the thrill of winning turns to terror once they realize they’ve opened something sinister.

Inside the suitcase is an antique gramophone, and the music it plays is unlike anything they’ve heard before. A chanting voice speaks to them in strange words, evoking visions of a dark, frozen land. It’s a voice that makes them sick with addiction, and it continues chanting in their heads even when the record stops playing.

Charlie sets out to solve the mystery of the unholy music and how to turn it off forever. But the urge to listen grows stronger, and the more it plays, the more the aural virus spreads, until people begin to vanish . . . feeding an apparition that seeks immortality.

You can buy Last Case At A Baggage Auction from Amazon UK & Amazon US

J.A. Sullivan

J. A. Sullivan is a horror writer and paranormal enthusiast, based in Brantford, ON, Canada. Attracted to everything non-horror folks consider strange, she’s spent years as a paranormal investigator, has an insatiable appetite for serial killer information, and would live inside a library if she could.

As curator of “Scary’s Voices” on Kendall Reviews, an article series reviewing horror podcasts, Sullivan loves listening to all things spooky. If you have a horror podcast recommendation, let her know.

On top of contributing short stories to Kendall Reviews, her fiction has appeared in Don’t Open the Door (2019), It Came From The Darkness (2020), and she acted as an assistant editor for Black Dogs, Black Tales (2020). Other spooky tales and updates on her writing journey can be found on her blog.

You can follow J. A. on Twitter @ScaryJASullivan

Check out her blog https://writingscaredblog.wordpress.com

Find her on Instagram www.instagram.com/j.a_sullivan

Find her on Instagram www.instagram.com/j.a_sullivan

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