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Blockade Billy Hardcover – May 25, 2010


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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.

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.
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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: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,351 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

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jeff W. on May 31, 2010
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James Tepper VINE VOICE on July 28, 2010
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. E. Millman on April 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I love baseball and I love Stephen King, so naturally I loved this book. King's storytelling is superb as always. The choice of a first-person narrator, a former major league third base coach who is apparently being interviewed by King himself, is fresh and entertaining. The characters, including the narrator, are interesting and unique. The story is short and sweet- not too gory or scary- and it ends with a great twist. Perhaps it could have been a bit more developed, but a King creation is an organic whole and who's to say longer would have been better?

(I don't believe in reviewing based on price. I am evaluating the book based on its enjoyment value. If you don't like the price, borrow it from the library or a friend, or buy a used copy. Maybe in a few years there will be used copies available for less than a dollar on Amazon, so why should I ruin the book's rating based on its current price? That being said, I think that, as of this review, the Kindle [$4.99] and Amazon Marketplace prices are worthwhile for a good, albeit short, read.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By randym on October 30, 2010
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: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Blockade Billy... This book has seen many mixed reviews. I for one LOVED IT! . Yes it is a different style for King, we are used to the spine tingling terror of mad men that lurk in the darkest of shadows of his brilliant mind. So one would automatically assume this one would be of the same style and nature of his best selling novels. It is Not, this does not make it bad by any means! To be honest I thought it was genius of him to write the book in this style. Telling the tale through the eyes of an elderly man whom lived through this bizarre tragedy!

For baseball fans this is a MUST READ! Even if you are not a player or fan of the game you will be sucked into this story from the start! As always King gives great details into the who's what's and OMG NO WAY's of this nightmare. Yes I said Nightmare because that is what it really is. Further more what will astonish you is the fact that this is based on what was supposed to really have happened and is being told to you ( or MR KING I should say) from the mouth of a man who witness this horror first hand!

Baseball scary? I'm sure you are asking yourself, yeah right is your expression! Read IT! You will find plenty of blood and gore with in its pages! Add in the scare factor of it really happened along with the cover up and wipe out of a National Team! You thought old boy Rose was an issue with a mere gambling problem wait to you get a load of Blockade Billy! He makes Rose look like your cookie baking grandma!

Another thing people complain about is that this is a short story. Yes , it is. But it is a dam good one! Not all good stories need to be a full fledged novels and I believe he did right by this one keeping and short , sweet and to the point! No need to drag it on , it does what it was intended to do , to tell you the story of unspeakable horrors this man brought to the game, country and sport!

So from one King fan to another, Give it a read !
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