Friday, July 2, 2010

Blockade Billy by Stephen King

After reading William F. Nolan’s latest collection, Dark Dimensions, and finding it a bit lacking in my mind, I decided to give another horror stalwart a chance, this time picking up Stephen King, whose name came up a few times in the previous review. King has just had a new collection released, Blockade Billy, that collects two of his recent stories, “Blockade Billy” and “Morality.” Thoughts on each:

“Blockade Billy”: Blockade Billy is the greatest catcher no one remembers, possibly the greatest catcher ever, but he holds a secret in his past that is darker than any of his teammates could ever imagine. King’s baseball story doesn’t have the horror that is his trademark, but it has a style and flow that is incredible. This is a crime story in the vein of his Colorado Kid, a short, brilliant tale that is far more about people and characters than the crime committed. Very solid work.

“Morality”: When a priest near the end of his life decides that he wants to see blood flow, how will it change the life of the woman he hires to do the deed? Another solid tale from King that delves into his characters, as we see how their lives are affected before and after a crime. Another non-horror piece, but wonderful, and a nice step away from King’s usual work.

This is obviously a very short collection, and quantity-wise you don’t get a lot of bang for your buck. However, quality counts, and each of these tales have that in spades. This is a must for fans of King, but also for those who like stories more about character than anything else, and that have a writing style with a master’s touch.


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