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King shorts

  • Jul 2, 2012

What looks like a 50s sports novel for young boys is King's mystery/horror take on the genre.  Written as a remembrance by a retired coach looking back at the brief career of the now forgotten Billy, the story is very short and punchy.  It won't take long to read, but packs its punch in King's usual style.  

Blockade Billy is a catcher called up from the minors when the Major League team suffers injuries to the two catchers on its roster just as spring training ends.  Billy is an unknown who proves to be an early season phenom both behind the plate, where he earns his nickname blocking runners from scoring on plays at the plate, and at the plate, where he proves to hit for power and average.  But Billy is too good to be true, as King unfolds the mystery.

Note:  This is NOT a mystery for boys.  The language is strongly R rated locker-room talk..

The bonus story "Morality" has nothing to do with Billy, but rather deals with a moral dilemma presented to a young couple in need of financial security to support their life goals.  They aren't poor, but when presented with financial incentive to undertake a mysterious task, they learn the true cost of moral clarity.  The value of the story is in the crux of the dilemma; the storytelling, perhaps intentionally, is no-frills pedestrian, to allow the reader to focus on the crux of the issue.

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July 03, 2012
Looks like an interesting read!
More Blockade Billy [Hardcover] reviews
review by . July 09, 2010
Stephen King tells the generally humorous tale of the baseball catcher William “Blockade Billy” Blakely, who played pro-baseball for the Newark Titans in the 1950s for several months. The story is told by an old Titan coach in an old age home to Stephen King in unedited language.   The team loses its two catchers, one to an injury and the second to a drunken driving accident where he killed a housewife; and the Titans find Billy in the minor leagues in Iowa. Billy has the annoying …
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Todd Stockslager ()
Ranked #38
I love reading and writing about what I have read, making the connections and marking the comparisons and contrasts. God has given man the amazing power to invent language and the means to record it which … more
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A quirky baseball player with a past shrouded in secrecy is the tragic hero of this macabre tale from the dark side of the all-American sport. In the voice of George Granny Grantham, retired third-base coach of the New Jersey Titans, King (Under the Dome) recalls the spring of 1957, when Billy Blakely, a catcher called up from the Titans' Iowa farm system, helped to boost the team out of the basement and add some excitement to the national pastime. Billy hits with such power and guards the plate with such determination (hence his eponymous nickname) that teammates are willing to forgive such eccentricities as his frequently addressing himself in the third person, or bloodying runners who collide with him. Of course, these kinks are clues to a shocking pathology that King coaxes out in a narrative steeped so perfectly in the argot of the game and the behavior of its players and fans that readers will willingly suspend their disbelief. As King's fiction goes, this suspenseful short is a deftly executed suicide squeeze, with sharp spikes hoisted high and aimed at the jugular on the slide home.(May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.--This text refers to an alternateHardcoveredition.
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