Friday, August 12, 2011

Review: Blockade Billy

Blockade Billy
Blockade Billy by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listened to an audio edition which contained the additional short story, "Morality."

Both of these stories were classic King, in that they took something ordinary and everyday and put a creepy spin on them. In this case, it's not inanimate objects coming to life or being possessed. There isn't even a supernatural element in either story. The stories are no less chilling for the lack of an unexplained monster, though.

Blockade Billy is about a miraculous catcher who shows up for a New Jersey team in 1957. He earns his nickname because he's very, very good at not letting runners past him. He's also clearly not all there in the head. It's set within a frame story of a man in a nursing home telling the story to Stephen King, years after it happened, which adds an intriguing layer to the text. Much as I love Stephen King's voice, I admire how he can make it sound like someone else is telling the story.

"Morality" starts with the question of what a person will do for $200,000, and the discovery of what a person's conscience is worth. It was a bit heady for a Friday afternoon listen, and I should probably go back to it when I can wrap my mind around it.

The 4-star rating is an average of the two stories. I would rate the top billing 5 stars, and "Morality" 3 stars based on the fact that I had to wash my mind out with some YA right after it.

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