The king of horror has turned his attention to the sports field, but promises ‘dark secrets’ in Blockade Billy, due out next month
He’s tackled murderous dogs, evil zombie children and life on death row, and now master of horror Stephen King is set to take on what could be his least scary topic yet: baseball.
King and independent US publisher Cemetery Dance announced yesterday that a surprise novella from the bestselling author, Blockade Billy (about “the first – and only – player to have his existence completely removed from the record books”) would be published next month, in time for the start of the baseball season. Even William “Blockade Bill” Blakely’s team has been forgotten, meriting “barely a footnote in the game’s history”, with every effort made “to erase any evidence that [he] played professional baseball”. “With good reason,” Cemetery Dance said. “Blockade Billy had a secret darker than any pill or injection that might cause a scandal in sports today. His secret was much, much worse.”
King said that people had been asking him “for years” about when he was going to write a baseball story. “Ask no more; this is it,” the author said. “I love old-school baseball, and I also love the way people who’ve spent a lifetime in the game talk about the game. I tried to combine those things in a story of suspense.”
A fan of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, King has touched on the sport before, writing a non-fiction essay, Head Down, about his son Owen’s little league team and its road to the Maine state championships. And his novel The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon follows the story of a nine-year-old girl who gets lost in the woods, and turns for solace to broadcasts of Red Sox games on her Walkman, imagining that pitcher Tom Gordon is with her and protecting her from harm.
Copies of Blockade Bill can be pre-ordered from the Cemetery Dance website.