Review – Blockade Billy by Stephen King

blockade billyI am a huge Stephen King fan.  So, when I see one of his books on the clearance shelf at my local bookstore, I almost always buy it.  Baseball isn’t my thing but, hey, it’s Stephen King.

From Goodreads: “Even the most die-hard baseball fans don’t know the true story of William “Blockade Billy” Blakely. He may have been the greatest player the game has ever seen, but today no one remembers his name. He was the first–and only–player to have his existence completely removed from the record books. Even his team is long forgotten, barely a footnote in the game’s history.  Every effort was made to erase any evidence that William Blakely played professional baseball, and with good reason. Blockade Billy had a secret darker than any pill or injection that might cause a scandal in sports today. His secret was much, much worse… and only Stephen King, the most gifted storyteller of our age, can reveal the truth to the world, once and for all.”

This novella (short story?) was just okay.  There is nothing bad about it but there is also nothing special.  The writing is fine.  The characters are fine.  Yes, Blockade Billy was crazy…not crazy ha-ha but crazy crazy.  I just didn’t really care about the story.  For me, King shines when he is able to give me page after page of character development and world building.  This didn’t fit the bill.

There was a bonus story in the second half of the book – “Morality”.  It was pretty messed up.  Basically, a husband and wife are living paycheck to paycheck and barely making ends meet.  The husband is a substitute teacher and wannabe writer.  The wife is a personal nurse for a pastor who had a stroke.  Her patient has lived a life filled with goodness and he wants to experience sin vicariously through her.  He offers over $200,000 if she will punch a random child in the face and videotape it so that he can see.  Long story short – she agrees to do it and it ends up turning her life upside down.  She doesn’t get caught but turns into a violence junkie.  I felt a little sick to my stomach while reading.  Would someone really be willing to do this?  I guess so but I don’t want to read about it.

Overall, I’d give this 3/5 stars for the technical aspects of the writing.  But, this won’t be a Stephen King re-read for me.

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