Friday, August 20, 2010

Book Review: "Blockade Billy"

As always, I feel hesitant to post because I'm afraid I'll push one of John's brilliant posts to the backburner.

But he would tell me to just shut up and write. And I've been holding off on this post too long. So, here goes...

Stephen King has written a nicely disturbing novella in "Blockade Billy." Although it's chock-full of homespun baseball cliches, in the vein of "The Great American Novel" although not done as well, "Blockade Billy" hits its stride at the end, when it stops being a baseball story and becomes a Stephen King story.

Unfortunately, the two can't coexist.

King is not very good at writing about baseball.

But that's okay. He's good at scaring the bejeesus out of you, and he's good at making the hairs stand up on the back of your neck (across all mediums in a way NOBODY else can), and he's good at turning a nice, cute little story into a twisted tale of murder and horror.

This is actually King's second (at least) attempt to incorporate baseball into a horror story. The other was the much more successful "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon." It was probably more successful because it was less about baseball and more about being a superb psychological thriller.

Since "Blockade Billy" is a short, short book - you can sit down and read it in a couple hours - this is going to be a pretty short review. I can't give away too much; because of its length, King really only has one big "Oooooh!" moment in the book.

But it's worth reading. However, as I said earlier, with a cover price of $25, the 112-page book - which includes large print, large margins and pictures! - is not worth buying. Check it out at the library, like I did, or wait for it to hit the discount stores.

--Matt Kelsey


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  2. Yes, shut up and write. Thinking can only hurt the ballclub.

    Besides, I've been waiting for this review.

    And after Jason Whitlock's performance yesterday I may not be able to write for a month. -- John