Ahh, I thought it was written in the 70s (just cause it's set there, silly me). But it's copyright 1954. NOW I get it a little more.
Richard Matheson is credited for moving horror from remote gothic settings into familiar modern settings. He was also one of the core writers for the original Twilight Zone series, which did the same thing. Throughout their careers Stephen King and Dean Koontz, the brand names of the horror section, have hailed Matheson as a major influence, which is probably what saved his work from going out of print.