Joyland Book Review

“I loved county fairs when I was a kid. There’s sort of a cheesy, exciting feel to them, and I decided that’s what I wanted to write about.”-SK

Bookstore Totals

  • King’s second book published with the Hard Case Crime imprint
  • Published in 2013
  • NY Times Best Seller
  • This book was was re-produced in 2013 a week after the release into a 3 book limited edition: 1) a gift edition. 2) a numbered edition. 3) a numbered and signed edition numbered and signed by the author.

 

Okay, this book was a little hard for me to review. I mean I liked it, didn’t love it. Didn’t hate either. It’s very difficult to hate anything that Stephen King writes because I like his stuff so much. That’s why with every book from him I read, I can always find something that works for me. Maybe I’m a little bit biased, but I’m a total fan of his, not a critic from New York or Los Angles. That’s not to say every book or short story he writes is the greatest piece of fiction to ever hit the bookstores. King has more hits than misses and for me he hasn’t missed anything.

Joyland was one of those books that was like 60/40 for me if I’m honest here. I read it in a span of a few days. I could have read the entire thing in a day if I had the time, but I couldn’t.

So what’s got me at a 60/40? (60% liking it) I think the length. The length of Joyland was short and even though it was short, it did keep my attention throughout. It’s not like because the length of the book made it any less of a good read, but I think the shortness really undercut what could have been a really engrossing novel.

 

I really think that Joyland could have been an epic novel if he really wanted it to be and I think that’s my problem with it: It’s just too damn short! Plus, I’m greedy because I wanted more because I felt like King really just scratched the surface with the killer, Lane Hardy, and Devin the book’s young sleuth. But with any good story, you always leave it wanting more. And that’s a good feeling to have: I wanted more with this story!

In the end, the book is what it is and Joyland works despite my issue with the length:

  1. Joyland works because it’s a coming of age tale. I like when characters are telling the story and are much older, giving their slant to the events of the narrative, possibly bending the truth a bit to suit their fading memories on what happened concerning the tale they are telling. People do that all the time when recounting a story from long ago.
  1. Joyland works because it’s a book that can be read in a quick amount of time. This can come in handy for those that just want something to sit on the couch with on an idle, rainy Saturday afternoon with nothing to do or on a long drive.  Perfect book to get lost in for awhile.Image result for joyland alt cover
  1. Joyland works because Devin has had his heart broken at a young age. Guys or girls both can relate to this because we’ve all been down that road before in a relationship much as Devin had in the book. I felt for him because I had a certain situation in my past that was like Devin’s. Again, King has a way of tapping into a reader’s emotion and memory conjuring up things that were happy and sad about our lives. Why can he do that so well? Because he writes about real people with real everyday emotion. The characters in Joyland had that and more.
  1. Joyland works because it’s a whodunit. I like mysteries myself. And who better than to write a mystery about a killer working the carnivals and theme parks over time than Stephen King.
  1. Joyland works because it’s not a convoluted book. As much I as wished it was more engrossing, it is still at its core a pretty straightforward book without the notions of having to flip back and re-read pages because of a clue that you think you might have missed. It was nice to just sit down and read and be entertained.

I do recommend anyone reading this book that hasn’t yet.

Joyland is a really cool place to visit- 2/5 (Okay)

Stephen King Stories You Ought To Know

Rainy Season

This Stephen King story you ought to know is a odd little tale called, Rainy Season. First published in the Spring 1989 issue of Midnight Graffiti magazine and then later collected in Nightmares and Dreamscapes, this, as far as I know, is the only King story about toads.

What’s so peculiar about this Stephen King tale you ask? Well, how about it rains toads? Yup, not just your swamp variety toads we’re talking about, but full blown vicious amphibians that can break through glass and chew through wood and they’re nearly as big as footballs with razor sharp teeth. Oh yeah, they can and will kill you as some sort of town sacrifice every seven years in exchange for the town’s prosperity. Kind of a trade off.

This isn’t one of King’s more famous or well-known shorts. In fact most people hadn’t heard of it outside the hardcore King readers cliques. But it is a fun and fast read. I enjoyed it very much.

Sure it’s outlandish. But it’s about toads falling from the sky and eating their way into a couple’s home to chew them apart as per the seven year ritual. Usually you don’t see that kind of behavior from things that go croak in the night.

Overall I like this story and have read and re- read this tale several times. It’s not a long story, but if you’re looking for something to pass the time on a rainy day, then Rainy Season is a must.

Rainy Season rains down at- 3/5 (Very Good)

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon Book Review

“If books were babies, I’d call The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon the result of an unplanned pregnancy.”- SK

Bookstore Totals

  • Published April 6th, 1999 by Scribner
  • Debuted #1 on The New York Times Best Seller List on May 2nd
  • In 2004, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon was released as a pop-up book
blue-ribbon1

Blue Ribbon Award-Winning Novel


In under 230 pages, this book doesn’t disappoint at all. In fact, I think that it’s one of his best, top ten material for me. I can’t say enough about this book about a nine-year-old girl getting lost, growing-up and surviving all on her own in the forests and bogs all the while trying to beat the odds as sickness, starvation and the God of the Lost is stalking her along the way.

This is what I would call a “gateway” novel into Stephen King’s Universe for those in the lower teens looking to start reading King’s work.

 

Why does The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon work…

  1. TGWLTG works because King takes a small child and thrusts her into a real situation that any kid could find themselves in. And in that real life horror, he makes a hero out of the girl. I love the underdogs and I loved Trisha’s strong bond with her favorite baseball player, Tom Gordon. Had it not been for the thoughts of him (and the visions and interactions with the Red Sox closer) and her Walkman, she would have died for sure. They were lifelines.
  1. TGWLTG works because it had that “what’s that stalking her in the woods” backdrop. As if her being lost, sick and scared wasn’t enough, King puts in a hidden figure that is watching and keeping pace with the lost girl as she traveled through woods and swamps. I think the thing in the woods kept the novel going to a degree because as a reader you didn’t know what this thing was or what the end game was going to be. All you knew was that the thing in the woods was going to make itself known at some point. And I thought keeping it hidden was a cool idea to build up the anticipation of when it did appear in the final showdown. Sometimes the scariest things are the ones we don’t see.
  1. TGWLTG works because Stephen King didn’t get himself or the story too bogged down within itself. The book could have really, really been tough to read had he stretched it out into something like 600 plus pages. Hell, who am I kidding. He’d find a way to make it work even if it was a 600 pager, right? But nevertheless, I think the length really helped this book. Perfect marriage between length and story.
  1. TGWLTG works because it’s so simple. A girl that needs to pee walks off the path and deep enough into the woods where no one could see her. And then she gets turned around and forgets where she came in at. And that’s real. I’ve been lost in the woods before and it’s scary because everything looks the same pretty much. And to a child? I think King was able to take something that could and does happen every day and make it a scary and interesting tale. Simple things can be very frightening.
  1. TGWLTG works because I have a daughter around this age and as I read it, it made me think of my own child. That’s who I had in mind when I read this novel. What if this was her? Yet again, Stephen King was able to hit home with an emotional connection for his readers; at least with me he did. If you’ve ever been lost then you know how this girl felt and I did. I also felt the pain of the parents trying to find their daughter. I wish that King would have did more on the parents and the thoughts that were running through their heads while Trisha was trying to find her way back out of the woods. I do think that was a missed opportunity. However it didn’t hurt the novel in any way.

All in all, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is a great read and one that I will be revisiting soon I’m sure. It was difficult to put down because you just had to find out what other perils that this young girl was going to have to face and overcome. While I read the book in the comfort of my own home, I too, felt lost with her. That’s why Stephen King is a master craftsman at what he does: He’s able to draw you in and make you feel.

I felt all of Trisha’s fears, her cries, her pain, her sickness and her despair and bouts of happiness as she tried to find her way out of the woods. Trisha McFarland is one of the better literary role models out there.

King in this novel was able to capture what it’s like to be a 9 year old girl being lost in the woods from the perspective of a child. He was able to make us, the reader, feel the totality of her being alone, all alone in a place that looked the same at every turn.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon gets a save at- 5/5 (Certifiable Classic)

The Mick Garris Interview

On May 8th, 2015 I had the pleasure of interviewing film director and writer, Mick Garris. If you’re not familiar with his work it includes such movies as : Sleepwalkers, The Shining (1997), Desperation, The Stand and Bag of Bones with an impressive list of many other films and writing credits.

I reached out to Mr. Garris when I was doing my website, then a fledgling blog about Stephen King, and took a shot and asked if he’d like to do an interview for my site. He said yes.

So without further adieu, here’s the interview I did with Mick Garris in 2015 for those that didn’t read it the first go around…

AP:  You directed the made for TV version of The Shining. Which is my favorite. And I know that Stephen King wasn’t too thrilled with Stanley Kubrick’s version. What did you and King decide to do differently than the original? And how did King view this version?

 MG: Well, the decision was made to do a film faithful to the book. We weren’t competing with the Kubrick film, or looking to change the way Kubrick interpreted King’s story. This is a very personal tale for King, and we wanted to get the heart of the book onscreen. To see Jack’s descent into madness, see the guilt he had over hurting his son when he was drunk, to follow the trajectory that King had set for him in the first place.

AP: How satisfied were you with the end result of your version of The Shining as a filmmaker?

MG: It’s impossible to be objective. But in terms of filmmaking, I had the best resources I’ve ever had on any project on THE SHINING, a budget that covered pretty much everything we tried to put on screen, as well as a great cast and supportive network and studio. I haven’t watched it in years, but saw some scenes at the Stanley Film Festival last week, and was very happy with how it stands up. Although there are always things you wish you could have done better, I was pleased with what I saw. I like it.

AP: You’ve done two epic novels of King’s to film. Which was harder to do as a director: The Shining or The Stand?

MG: THE STAND was much, much harder: shooting a cast of 126 speaking roles, in six states, 95 scripted locations, shooting outside in a dying world, trying to hide the living world. By far the most complicated, demanding, and longest-running project I’ve ever had. THE SHINING was very contained, with a very small cast, and we were on our sets or locations for weeks at a time. On THE STAND we were often running to two or three locations a day.

AP:  You’ve done a good share of King’s adaptations. In your mind how hard is it to bring King’s work to film especially a novel like Desperation?

MG: No film is easy. We worked for seven years to do DESPERATION as a feature film. It took that long to turn it into a TV production deal. DESPERATION, like THE STAND, had a lot of location work in desolate—and very specific—locations. And so much of it in the book is internal. It was a huge challenge to make the thrust of what was behind DESPERATION clear cinematically, and to externalize what’s going on inside those characters.

AP: Do you read the books or short stories before you start the film?

MG: Several times.

AP:  Some directors in adapting King’s work stray from the source material somewhat because they have a certain way they want the film to go. You stay really true to King’s work. Is it important to you as a filmmaker to stay on point with not only King’s stories but with other writers as well?

MG: It depends. Movies and books are different media; like I mentioned earlier, books are internal and movies are external. King is the first to understand that they are two different things. If a book is cinematic—as many of King’s are—they can more easily be adapted to film pretty directly. But something like RIDING THE BULLET, which was a 30-page short story, was changed a lot. I changed the time it took place, and basically created a whole new back story for Alan, and the last half of the movie isn’t really even in the book. But the idea is to capture the essence of the story that you wanted to turn into a movie in the first place. I’ve done adaptations of other books by other writers—Clive Barker and others, including my own fiction—and certain things need to be changed because you’re dealing in a different medium. But keep the baby; throw out the bathwater.

AP: When I was a kid I went and saw Sleepwalkers. Had a great time watching it. My question is: how did you get all those cats together in those scenes because it seemed like thousands?

MG: It was only 125, but they were very well trained. The handlers spent months coaching them with treats and Pavlovian buzzers and things. We worked out long before we started shooting what they needed to do, and the trainers were able to humanely coach them.

AP: What’s your feelings on several of the King movie remakes going on right now? Does your version of The Stand really need to be remade? Or do you view the remakes as just simply updating for the times?

MG: Every one is different. You know, the remake of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS was fantastic, and didn’t take anything away from the original. MALTESE FALCON was a remake. THE FLY was a remake that was superior to the original. I’m not usually a fan of remakes of movies that were good to begin with, but as new generations of filmgoers grow up, there are stories worth retelling. I met Josh Boone, who’s writing and directing THE STAND remake, and I liked him a lot. A very talented guy who knows his Stephen King inside and out. I think it has the chance to be great.

AP: Do filmmakers take exception to their work being remade after a period of time?

MG: A lot of them like it, and profit from it. Like King says about his books: no movie can fuck up a good book. It’s still there on the shelf to read anytime you want to. The same goes for remade movies, I think.

AP: I read somewhere where you’ve been tapped a few times to sit in the director’s chair for The Talisman. Is that King novel ever going to get an adaptation and why hasn’t already you think?

MG: It’s a tough one to handle. I wrote a two-part miniseries script that’s one of my favorite things I ever wrote, and was going to direct it for ABC, but it was just too expensive for them. I have no idea why it hasn’t yet been made. Steven Spielberg’s Amblin has owned it for decades, and they keep announcing it, and then it goes away. Maybe now, in the days of doable visual effects and giant fantasy films, it’s the right time.

AP:  Is The Talisman something you want to do?

MG: I’d love to. Don’t know that that will ever happen, though.

AP: You and Stephen King seem to have a really good relationship together. How did you and him come together in the first place?

MG: On SLEEPWALKERS. Columbia Pictures and King selected me on the strength of my enthusiasm for his work and because they thought PSYCHO IV showed it was something I might be able to handle. We met when he came to the set for two hours for his cameo with Clive Barker and Tobe Hooper in the film. But he was so happy with the version I made that he asked me to do THE STAND. And the rest, as they say, is cinema history… at least in the Garris house.

Stephen King Stories You Ought To Know

The Death of Jack Hamilton

“As a kid, I was fascinated by tales of the Depression-era outlaws, an interest that probably peaked with Arthur Penn’s remarkable Bonnie and Clyde.”-SK


This is one of those shorts ( King’s 2002, Everything’s Eventual, collection) where King showcases that he’s a well-versed writer, not a horror writer like most people outside his fandom like to tag him. So when King writes a story about a member of John Dillinger’s gang slowly dying from a gunshot wound, of course I’m going to read it…and like it.

This story is simplictic. It’s not balls to the wall nor is it chalk full of Depression Era nostalgia. The story is about Dillinger gang member, Jack Hamilton, dying from the bullet that is lodged in his lung during a shoot out. After being refused treatment by Joseph Moran, a Depression Era gangster doctor who operates under the radar, Dillinger and his boys try to find a place to lay low and maybe get Hamilton some help. But the truth of the matter is that Jack is dying and the reality of that is horrible not only for him, but the rest of the gang. They all know that it’s just a matter of time.

The story is about the realities of being outside the law. What happens to men that are wanted fugitives who are mortally wounded and can’t see a straight-up doctor? In this short, we get to hear the accounts of Jack Hamilton’s final hours…

The Death of Jack Hamilton- 3/5 (Very Good)

Cycle of the Werewolf Book Review

“Any dedicated moon-watcher will know that, regardless of the year, I have taken a good many liberties with the lunar cycle-usually to take advantage of days (Valentine’s, July 4th, etc.) which mark certain months in our minds.”-SK

 

Bookstore Totals

  • Published in Nov. 1983 by Land of Enchantment as a hardback limited edition
  • Was published the same year that Pet Sematary and Christine were issued
  • The book was supposed to be a monthly calendar but King thought it would make a better book
  • In 1985 it was re-produced as a mass-market paperback to coincide with the movie adaptation, Silver Bullet

 

I can tell you what this book isn’t: it isn’t a deep and profound thought-provoking piece of fiction that often comes from Stephen King. This book is quite the opposite; it’s straight up entertainment, an escape for about an hour. It’s an in your face, month by month account of the going-ons of the residents of Tarker’s Mills fearing the full moon as a werewolf stalks the night.

This book is short but big on entertainment value. A hidden gem in the King library.

Why does Cycle of the Werewolf work?

1)    Cycle of the Werewolf works because it’s a really cool story about a werewolf preying upon a small town. Everyone is terrified but no one wants to admit what’s really the cause of all the grisly murders. King is not greedy on the gore.cycle of the werewolf

2)    Cycle of the Werewolf works because of Bernie Wrightson’s illustrations that walk us through King’s books. I love his depiction of the werewolf and overall tone he added with King’s words. I think that was a good combination for this book.

3)    Cycle of the Werewolf works because it’s just a fun book. It’s a book that you’d read on a cold night sitting on the couch with the lights dim. It doesn’t insist upon itself and King doesn’t dress it up to be something that it’s not.

4)    Cycle of the Werewolf works because it started out being a monthly calendar. And who else could take something like that and turn it into a book? Stephen King of course.

Cycle of the Werewolf howls- 3/5 (Very Good)

The Colorado Kid Book Review

“Mystery is my subject here, and I am aware that many readers will feel cheated, even angry, by my failure to provide a solution to the one posed. Is it because I had no solution to give? The answer is no…I’m not really interested in solution but in the mystery.”-SK

 

Bookstore Totals

  • Published October 4, 2005 by Hard Case Crime
  • 2007 The Colorado Kid was re-issued by PS Publishing as a limited edition hardback with 4 different covers by 3 different artists
  • The Colorado Kid was Stephen King’s first book under the Hard Case Crime imprint

 

Our novel this month is King’s first effort with Hard Case Crime publication. It’s a thin novel…not a deep novel. That’s the best way to describe Stephen King’s, The Colorado Kid. If you’re looking for ghosts, goblins, crazy killers, cell phone signals that turn people into maniacal zombies, go someplace else because this book aint it.

I want to go out and say that I liked this book. A lot. I read it in an hour or so. Sometimes I can read fast and sometimes not. But this book never go lagged at all and I never wanted to put it down. It’s one of those King books that you got to see through to the end even if you have to sit and read all day.colorado kid

 

Is this one of King’s most powerful books? No. Is it a book that will haunt you days after you read the last page? No again. But this is a King book that is high on mystery and even higher on entertainment value and escape. The overall theme of this novel: sometimes there’s not any answers…

Why does The Colorado Kid work:

1)           The Colorado Kid works because of this book’s subject matter. A man is discovered on a beach on a small island off the coast of Maine. No one knows who he is or how he got there. From this point, the story gets more and more stranger wrapped in a shroud of mystery. The mystery in this book is the driver. The mystery is why I kept reading.

2)         The Colorado Kid works because King doesn’t give us any closure to the story whatsoever. I get that. The reason The Colorado Kid came to the island in the first place is never discovered nor is why he left Colorado and his family. Some things, much like in life, you just will never know. Another one of King’s books is like this: From A Buick 8. At the end of both books, you still have no closure and have more questions than answers. Really is like real life…

3)          The Colorado Kid works because of the way the book was written. The story was told by two old timers that worked and ran the island’s newspaper, both reminiscing about an event that happened decades ago. Reading this book it was like I was sitting in the newspaper building and they were telling me the tale of the strange man that showed up dead on the beach. I felt very engaged by Vince and Dave as they told Steff about the mystery that they each recalled with clarity.

4)         The Colorado Kid works because this kind of thing happens all the time all over the world. Something happens and there’s no real explanation. Sure, people have theories and educated guesses, but at the heart of it all, some mysteries just don’t have any answers but more questions. And sometimes the mystery is way better than any solution can provide.

The Colorado Kid finishes strong at- 3/5 (Very Good)

Dreamcatcher Book Review

“I was in pain all the time {while writing that book}. I couldn’t keyboard that book at a computer or a typewriter. I was in a chair with pillows on both sides of me, particularly on my right where my hip just hurt all the time and my lower leg was on fire. I wasn’t sleeping very well. I was taking a lot of painkillers that weren’t helping very much. And at the same time, the book took me away when I had a chance to write it.” -SK

 

Bookstore Totals

  • Published on  March 20th, 2001 by Scribner
  • Debuted on #1 The New York Times Best Seller List April 8th, 2001
  • Stayed #1 for 3 weeks in a row
  • Was nominated at the Deutscher Phantastik Preis Awards for Best International Novel in 2002

 

I read this book when it released back in 2001 when I was 23 years old. By then, I had read everything that Stephen King had put out. The problem that I had withDreamcatcher then was that I couldn’t relate with any of the characters being just 23; a young 23 mind you.

Now, some 13 years later, I have revisited the novel and have a totally better understanding of what Dreamcatcher is at its core. And this time around I related to all four of the characters in some way at the age of 35; Beav, Pete, Henry and Jonesy, each of them has an authenticity factor that drew me into them and into the enveloping story. They (the characters) seem real to me, and outside of their special powers, they are like people who I know today.200px-Dreamcatchernovel

If you are a fan of the novel and are a King fan, you already know what this book is about. There’s no use in going over the story chapter by chapter. The novel that I put back on my bookshelf back in ’01 strangely wasn’t the same book that I pulled off a few nights ago. I was shocked, too, that time had changed my view of a novel that I wasn’t all that much into. Time has a way of changing the way you see and understand things. Listen, life is long and opinions change.

The thing that I have learned with King that I hadn’t learned when I was younger was that the older and mature you get, the more you understand not only King’s complex stories but you harness a better sense of the characters and their thought processes. Most of the people in his books are relatable to me now days. Maybe it’s because of my age and I have run into these types of people in my travels. Back when I was a kid at 12 when I first picked up The Shining, I didn’t get it. I mean, I understood it, but not to the depths of what he was conveying to an older generation than me.

Reviews of Dreamcatcher vary from good to bad to middle of the road. I read one the other night from CNN.com from 2001 where the author of the review said that Dreamcatcher “Overall, it doesn’t work”. Really? Doesn’t work? I think it works…

Why Dreamcatcher works:


  1. Dreamcatcher works because it has that sense of profound friendship that I love in his books. I had a group of friends growing-up and I recall how we all hung out and did things together. It was like we were brothers. The group of Beav, Pete, Henry and Jonesy and later Duddits harkened back to me and my friends. There was that relatable connection for me in the book. And when I can relate to the book it makes it more than a book to me; it makes it a journey. King has a way of taking you back to not only the character’s childhood, but often times (if you were lucky) even back to your own. King is really good at tapping this emotion in all of us.
  1. Dreamcatcher works because it had that “fate of the entire world” theme in it. I love that. I love that a single, ordinary person (well, maybe not so ordinary in the case of the characters in this novel) can save the world no matter the odds. I like the fact that it comes down to a beaten up and physically exhausted Jonesy trying to save his mind, body and the world at the water supply at Shaft 12.
  1. Dreamcatcher works because it keeps you guessing. It’s not a novel that is straightforward or that has been “repeated” in his other works. You don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know if the detainees at Gosslin’s are all going to be barbecued; You don’t know if Jonesy and Henry will make it out alive at the end of the book. That kept me turning the pages. I even wondered what was going to become of Mr. Gray because it was such a dominating force in the novel. If anyone says this novel’s plot was predictable is crazy. But then again everyone, such as myself, is entitled to their opinion.
  1. Dreamcatcher works because it had an antagonist character in Abe Kurtz that was a cool driving force in the background of the book. With so much going on, so many things happening in different character’s lives at different places around the same times, Kurtz was that wild card that you didn’t know what he was going to do or to what ends he was going to make it happen. Let’s face it, he was pretty unstable. But just like all crazy people, he justified his insanity (at least to himself). I literally smiled when Freddy shot and killed him. One of many highlights of the book for me.
  1. Dreamcatcher works because I love the fact that the Losers Club (if only in words) made it in the book at the monument marking the 1985 storm there in Derry. I love a good call back to his other books. Obviously if you’re a King fan then you’ll know what I’m talking about. If not, then go read It!

All in all, I liked this book when I was 23, but now at 35, I love this novel! It was hard to put down and it was literally like I was reading it for the first time. Such a different book that I put on the bookshelf in 2001 in comparison to now. Perhaps the biggest reason for that is because I have gotten older and wiser and see the world with different lenses. In my opinion, this is one of King’s most underrated books and it shouldn’t be. It’s a really solid novel! But then again…that’s just my opinion.

Dreamcatcher catches a–4/5 (Awesome)

Stephen King Short Stories You Ought To Know

“Yeah, it’s about baseball, but give it a chance, okay? You don’t have to be a sailor to love the novels of Patrick O’Brian, and you don’t have to be a jockey-or even better-to love the Dick Francis mysteries. Those stories come alive in the characters and the events, and I hope you’ll find similar liveliness here.”-SK 

This short was first released back in 2010 by Cemetery Dance as a limited edition hardback. Later Scribner released it under their house and eventually it was added to the collection, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams in 2015. 200px-Blockade_Billy

I like baseball, past and present and wondered when King was ever going to write a fictional baseball book. Blockade Billy is his fictional gift for baseball fans and fans of his. I enjoyed it on two different levels: One as a baseball fan and another as a fan of Stephen King’s work.

 

So why does Blockade Billy work…

  1. Blockade Billy works because it’s a baseball story set in the later part of the 1950’s. And if anyone knows about that era of baseball history they can appreciate a trip to the past, fictional granted, but still a good trip.
  1. Blockade Billy works because the title’s main character Billy Blakely is a little off in the head. You don’t know why or how and that’s where King begins to work his magic. He writes Billy as odd as any one of his creations. And throughout the story, you know that there’s just something sinister about the baseball player but you don’t know what. Great suspensebuilder.
  1. Bloackade Billy works because the way King wrote this story is fluid. Meaning that the narrator’s voice is strong and uninterrupted throughout him telling the story to Mr. King himself. I liked that. I liked the fact that an old man in a old age home is recalling a story, a baseball story, and he tells it with such enthusiasm and vigor.
  1. Blockade Billy works because King keeps it simple. No need to saturate the plot or populate the landscape with characters that do not matter. King sticks to the story and doesn’t allow it to lag at all. Plus he gave the narrator a truly strong and believable voice. I felt that the old salty coach was really talking instead of King writing his words.

 

Blockade Billy hits a homer at- 3/5 (Very Good)