“Yeah, it’s about baseball, but give it a chance, okay? You don’t have to be a sailor to love the novels of Patrick O’Brian, and you don’t have to be a jockey-or even better-to love the Dick Francis mysteries. Those stories come alive in the characters and the events, and I hope you’ll find similar liveliness here.”-SK
This short was first released back in 2010 by Cemetery Dance as a limited edition hardback. Later Scribner released it under their house and eventually it was added to the collection, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams in 2015.
I like baseball, past and present and wondered when King was ever going to write a fictional baseball book. Blockade Billy is his fictional gift for baseball fans and fans of his. I enjoyed it on two different levels: One as a baseball fan and another as a fan of Stephen King’s work.
So why does Blockade Billy work…
- Blockade Billy works because it’s a baseball story set in the later part of the 1950’s. And if anyone knows about that era of baseball history they can appreciate a trip to the past, fictional granted, but still a good trip.
- Blockade Billy works because the title’s main character Billy Blakely is a little off in the head. You don’t know why or how and that’s where King begins to work his magic. He writes Billy as odd as any one of his creations. And throughout the story, you know that there’s just something sinister about the baseball player but you don’t know what. Great suspensebuilder.
- Bloackade Billy works because the way King wrote this story is fluid. Meaning that the narrator’s voice is strong and uninterrupted throughout him telling the story to Mr. King himself. I liked that. I liked the fact that an old man in a old age home is recalling a story, a baseball story, and he tells it with such enthusiasm and vigor.
- Blockade Billy works because King keeps it simple. No need to saturate the plot or populate the landscape with characters that do not matter. King sticks to the story and doesn’t allow it to lag at all. Plus he gave the narrator a truly strong and believable voice. I felt that the old salty coach was really talking instead of King writing his words.
Blockade Billy hits a homer at- 3/5 (Very Good)