Tuesday, November 23, 2010
"Blockade Billy" by Stephen King
This is a special hardcover edition by Cemetery Dance of this never-before-published novella by King. Now, normally I really enjoy King's short works. This wasn't my favorite, though, and I think it's simply because of the subject matter - baseball. Not a sport I personally play or enjoy.
The style is nice, though, with the former equipment manager of the New Jersey Titans narrating to "Mr. King" as if King is a reporter. George Grantham ("Granny" to the players) has seen a lot in his time, but nothing like that summer in the 1950s when William Blockade was called up from the Iowa Cornhuskers after two accidents take the Titans' catchers out the game. Billy is a bit of an odd duck, talking to himself under his breath and parroting back whatever he's told. But the kid can catch, and he can hit - making him a double threat. Billy becomes good friends with Danny Dusen, the Titans' pitcher who is nearing 200 home runs. But there's definitely something not right about Billy, something spooky....
As I said, this is a well-written novella, but just not my cup of tea due to the fact that it's about baseball. I'm not very schooled on all the rules, and some of the lingo didn't make much sense to me. I got the gist of the story, though, and thankfully, it's pretty short. I did like the end, the King twist that explains what's off about Billy - classic King. My real beef with this is the price. If you run out and purchase this very small 112 page book, it will cost you $25 retail. Um, excuse me? That's the typical price for a full novel! Instead, look for it at your local library or search for the 144 page edition that's about $10 less. Unless you're a collector of Stephen King's work, in which case you'll probably want this particular Cemetery Dance version.