My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When you’re as big a name as Stephen King, you could pretty much publish a grocery list and people would snap it up. But part of that is because he’s earned the trust of his readers, so that when he decides to push the limits or do something different, readers will follow him and give whatever experiment he’s trying a fair chance.
Those experiments have given us some enjoyable reads and some interesting entries in the Stephen King library.
“Blockade Billy” is another noble experiment by King. Released first as an exclusive for e-book readers, King now releases the short story in a hard cover edition. It’s the story of a replacement starting catcher for the New Jersey Titans. All record of William “Blockade Billy” Blakely have been erased from history and the record books, but the fictional King has tracked down a member of the team who is willing to tell the story.
King’s love of baseball comes through in the story and you can see what he’s trying to do here. King teases readers with the possibility that there could be supernatural forces at work here (at least you think there could be if you’ve read a lot of other King novels and stories), but I’ll warn you there aren’t. It’s a fairly straight-forward story about Billy, the team and what he did.
It’s an enjoyable enough little read with King creating a good atmosphere, especially those around the ballpark and the games Billy catches.
Also included is another story called “Morality” that feels a bit like a Richard Matheson story. (A compliment to both King and Matheson). A young couple, struggling with debt, is given a unique opportunity. What they are asked to do, the reward and the consequences of it make for an interesting little morality play.