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Blockade Billy Hardcover – 25 May 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner Book Company (25 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451608217
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451608212
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 293,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Among his most recent are the Dark Tower novels, Cell, From a Buick 8, Everything's Eventual, Hearts in Atlantis, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, and Bag of Bones. His acclaimed nonfiction book, On Writing, was also a bestseller. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

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Review

' . . . suspenseful . . . deftly executed . . . with sharp spikes hoisted high and aimed at the jugular on the slide home' (Publisher's Weekly on BLOCKADE BILLY)

'America's greatest living novelist delivers his masterpiece.' (Lee Child on UNDER THE DOME)

'King's most purely entertaining novel in years . . . utterly compelling.' (John Connolly on UNDER THE DOME) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

People have been asking King for years when he was going to write a baseball story. This is it: 'I love old-school baseball, and I also love the way people who've spent a lifetime in the game talk about the game. I tried to combine those things in a story of suspense' said King.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Eleanor TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Jun. 2010
Format: Hardcover
From the opening sentences of 'Blockade Billy' you know you are in for a treat. The story is narrated by an elderly baseball player telling a curious Mr. King the story of William Blakely, a brilliant but mysterious player, who has been erased from baseball's history. The tone of reflection and regret is similar to King's "The Colorado Kid", one of his quiet masterpieces.

I don't know anything about baseball, so I had to let much description of the games wash over me. However, I still was gripped by the story and characters and King's love of the sport really shines through (as it does in his enjoyable piece on the Baseball World Series in McSweeney's 33).

The other story in the volume, 'Morality', is also an enjoyably grim read.

As is probably obvious from this review I am a King devotee, and thus will uncomplainingly buy anything he publishes. However I'm not sure whether non-fans would be as keen on a book that contains just two short stories. However fans, for their money, will receive two great stories, a much-needed King fix, and a beautifully presented, if slim, hardback.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER on 20 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Baseball fans or no, the best of the two short stories in this slim volume (a rarity with Stephen King) is without question "Morality". A young married couple is given the moral choice of going through with a nefarious deed for $200k by an elderly Priest. It smacks of Richard Matheson's story "Button, Button" (recently filmed as "The Box"), and is one of King's best stories in a while. It shows how a deed can change a person and how a secret can tear apart a marriage - moreover his characterisation of the Priest Winston is pitch-perfect as a tempter of sin.

"Blockade Billy" isn't bad but it isn't good either. It tells the story of a maverick unknown baseball player from the 50s who had a good season but had a dark secret that changed everything and ensured his name was kept out of the record books. The ending felt a bit incongruous and silly and Billy himself a bit of a cipher rather than someone you could see in your mind's eye.

At any rate it's a quick, one sitting read and an enjoyable read if only for "Morality" than the title piece. King fans will love it, short story lovers will find it so-so.
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Format: Hardcover
Over the years, Stephen King’s short stories have often been released as single limited edition books. These have rarely appeared in the UK, or at least I’ve never managed to get my hands on one. This time around, however, “Blockade Billy” has been combined with another short story “Morality” and had a release in the UK as a lovely little book. Lovely in terms of the size and design, at least, not necessarily in terms of content.

Some of King’s best writing has been about baseball. I thoroughly enjoyed “Faithful”, his fan’s eye view of a baseball season following the Boston Red Sox which he wrote with Stewart O’Nan. For me, the best writing he’s ever done, in terms of the quality of the writing, was a piece called “Head Down” from his “Nightmares and Dreamscapes” collection, where he followed his son’s Little League baseball team. Knowing this, a story about baseball from the mind of Stephen King was always likely to appeal to me.

The opening story is the fictional tale of William “Blockade Billy” Blakely, who briefly played for the New Jersey Titans back in 1957. At first sight, it’s almost a traditional “small town boy makes good” story, like many a sports novel or film frequently turn into. But this has come from Stephen King, which means you can never be sure exactly what to expect and that when something unexpected does occur, it’s likely to have a dark turn to it.

As is typical with King’s baseball based writing, this is surprisingly well written. King has created a wonderful narrator in George “Granny” Grantham and the story is told as if it’s coming out of his reminiscences. King writes clearly enough that you can almost picture some of the scenes he draws and Grantham’s (as well as King’s) love of the game of baseball shines through the words.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Niall Alexander on 26 July 2010
Format: Hardcover
There's been at least a book a year bearing Stephen King's name for as long as I can remember, and I don't complain. I don't always manage to read them, but I buy them all, and I'm glad they're there - filed away in my library (alphabetically and by order of publication). Waiting. They're like security blankets, I suppose. For all the unevenness of King's work, for all the inevitable repetition, there's always something in each of his books that reminds me why I hold reading so dear. When the book doldrums come upon me, after the bitter pill of one too many epic high fantasies or some such, there's Stephen King to come back to. For good or ill, he writes like no other in this day and age. His conversational prose, lived-in characters and even - loathe though I am to admit it - his typically deflating climaxes are such distinctive traits you'd have no trouble identifying this author's work in the literary equivalent of a blind taste test. For some, its uniqueness has proven tiresome over the years. For others - for me - it's become positively reassuring.

Blockade Billy has all you'd expect from a new Stephen King, distilled from the intimidating quantities barely contained in last year's Under the Dome to more approachable proportions. It's pint-sized at only a hundred undersized pages, large in font and margins. What we have here is two short stories you might rather generously refer to as novelettes collected together in a nicely finished storybook-style edition. The titular narrative leads the pack.
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