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Blockade Billy Hardcover – May 25, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 219 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Bookmarks Magazine

Reviewers tended to dismiss Blockade Billy when they compared it to the sum of King's oeuvre, but they appreciated the book as a better-than-usual attempt to fictionalize the world of baseball. Readers with a more nostalgic take on the game will particularly enjoy King's evocation of the way it was played in 1957. And baseball-stats wonks will likely salivate over the mystery of what event could be so horrible that the Majors would efface the scorecard for all time. But other readers may wish to start with one of King's classics.


' ... 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 alternate Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (May 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451608217
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451608212
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,797 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. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. 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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I love Stephen King and for decades I've been purchasing his books the moment they come out. I even ordered the limited edition of this book from Cemetery Dance so I could get the bonus baseball card. I am sad to admit that Blockade Billy is a huge disappointment. As some have noted, this is first and foremost a short story, not a novella. The trade edition comes with a "bonus" short story called "Morality", which was featured in Esquire magazine and is 52 pages long (Blockade Billy is 80). It is a tiny book with large font, which is the oldest trick in the proverbial book. I read both stories in about 40 minutes. Surprisingly I found Morality to be a lot more engaging than the titular Blockade Billy, which is a lot of build up for a mildly interesting punch-line. I'm sure King will include Blockade Billy in some future anthology and I would recommend waiting until then to read this story.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Blockade Billy", at least in the form in which I bought it, contains 2 medium-length short stories by Stephen King. I'm afraid I have to confess to being a Stephen King-ophile. I have read everything he has published (including many anthologies in which he has only contributed one short story or novella). Obviously I like the guy's writing - usually. Occasionally I pan his books but mostly I find them to be 4 or 5 star reads. Not this one, I'm afraid. The hardcover book itself is about the size of a standard mass-market paperback and both the margins and the typeface are very large, so volume's 129 pages of text would only take up approximately 60-70 pages in a normal hardcover presentation.

The first story, "Blockade Billy" is, as one can tell from the cover and publisher's description, a summer baseball tale about the heyday of the game in the 1957. It's OK, because SK is a great writer, but the story itself is, well, very disappointing. There is nothing about it that is "haunting", and the back cover implies a "secret" about the "greatest player the game has ever seen". All of this is misleading. Trying for a no spoiler approach to reviewing, I think I am safe in saying that there is nothing of the supernatural, occult, science fiction or paranormal going on here. No hint of "The Natural" here. Just baseball in the big leagues on a fictional team in Newark, NJ, and regular everyday baseball people. And there is a lot that does not make sense. Including the reason that Billy's (rather short) career stats were "erased from the game etc. All-in-all, very disappointing.

The "bonus" short story, "Morality" was also just OK. This one had more of a SK-type feel to it but it was still not even close to any of King's best.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a diehard baseball fan as well as a fan of Stephen King, so this story was tailor-made for me. I greatly enjoyed it, and would recommend it wholeheartedly for a baseball fan. King really gets the baseball part right, mixing real players and places in with the fictional ones to good effect.

So why only four stars? Well, I fear readers who aren't baseball fans wouldn't enjoy it as much. They might even find it boring. And whether you're a baseball fan or not, the plot is rather hard to swallow. I know, it's Stephen King, but still...it just doesn't seem like the events in this book could happen without it being a national scandal. And we're supposed to believe it's all been forgotten?

As others have mentioned, it's also very expensive for what you get. The large print is nice for those who no longer have young eyes, but still...this is basically a short story. It took me less than an hour to read. As much as I enjoyed this, I have to say it's overpriced.
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Format: Audio CD
I listened to this on the audio CD. It contains two short stories are combined on the CD. Blockage Billy is a moderately interesting short story of a young man that is a baseball prodigy and also mentally ill to the point of being a multiple murderer and a person that enjoys hurting other people.

The second story is about a woman that is paid to commit a criminal act for money so another man can enjoy committing what he believes is his first sin before he dies. Her criminal act is an act of cowardice action against a child. The story was not interesting or enjoyable.

Overall this is not a good set of short stories from Stephen King and they barely make a minimum grade when compared to his other good books. These two stories do not represent the best of Stephen King's imagination nor are they the best horror books or a great example of his creative story telling. They both missed the mark and I rated them as a 2 star item. I am a Stephen King fan and I have read and own all of his books but to be honest unless you are driven to just read all of his books then this book is worth not reading.
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Format: Hardcover
*This review is only for Blockade Billy*, my edition didn't have the extra short story.
Being familiar with baseball, though not a diehard fan, this was the perfect book at the perfect time. A little treat from Stephen King to his fans, and in my case, a little dose of King to hold me over until I'm prepared to read the huge Wizards and Glass or 11-22-63.
I give the story four stars because I appreciate what it is. What is it? Well, it's a pretty faced-paced light read thats fun for an hour or two. It shows once again Stephen King is just a talented writer in general, as he tackles a sports fiction story. The story is short, but doesn't waste a word.
I get the feeling people may have rated this lower because either they don't care for baseball (which is understandable) or because they try and compare this story to King's full length novels that are ten times its size. The characters aren't developed to well, but I didn't expect them to be. After all the book is tiny and barely reaches 100 pages (and the pages don't have alot of words on them) in total length. It's more like a long short story, to read in one sitting and to have fun with, and in my case, that's exactly what happened. One thing I loved is how the narrarator is actually telling this story to "Mr. King" , who I can only believe is Stephen himself. Some may find is a little tacky, but I enjoyed when the character telling the story says something like: "I know what you're thinking Mr. King."
Now, the ending, as I've seen other reviews say, was a bit of a let-down, mostly because it was somewhat predictable. This is why I gave four instead of five stars.
Overall, just don't have sky-high expectations for this book, and I think you'll enjoy it.
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