Reviews in 200 Words

Blockade Billy by Stephen King

In Novella on August 10, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Yeah, I know: Stephen King. Still, he knows what he’s doing–in fact, he’s a genius at it. He always has been. Why else would everyone have gone through a Stephen King phase? Everyone. Actually, if you’re a writer, you certainly should have learned quite a bit from this guy. For one, setting. There’s no question that this is 1957 in Newark, NJ at an old-folks home. There’s no questioning the characters, either. Decades after the brief stardom of NJ Titans catcher, “Blockade Billy,” the third-base coach recounts the drama to an unexplained “Mr. King.” This story is short and more of a conversation–but that’s what’s brilliant about it. King gets you: he gets you because he’s an incredible storyteller. Right when you’re thinking, “this is Stephen King, something creepy must happen,” the darkness sets in. Just when you’re thinking, “how can there be anything unexpected here?” There is. “Blockade Billy” is followed by an even shorter story, “Morality,” almost a dessert to the title story. Both remind us that people do horrible things on purpose; sometimes for money, sometimes for fame, and sometimes just because they really want to. 

-Micah Ling

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