Cemetery Dance, Apr 20 2010, $25.00
In the year Russia sent a satellite into orbit, New Jersey had a professional baseball team the Titans. Just before opening day, the Devil’s catcher Johnny Goodkind was drunk and ran over a woman. He tried to run but was caught, which ended his sports career. His replacement Frank Faraday suffered a career ending injury during a game.
The team calls up from the Minors Davenport Cornholers William Blakely who proves to be a first class player. He befriends pitcher Danny Dusen who is closing in on two hundred wins. "Blockade Billy" wants him to achieve the milestone. The crowd loves Billy, but one of the management workers who deals with the players begins to notice odd phenomena involving the catcher. Billy sometimes has a band-aid on his second finger’s middle knuckle and that means trouble. Billy exactly parrots what Danny says even when he was not there to hear the words. By the time his team figures out what makes Billy tick, they erase his name from the baseball archives; the Titans since have become a historical footnote while the game’s greatest play simply vanished as the season for the Titans does not count.
This short novel will please Stephen King’s readers especially those who cherish baseball stories. The story line feels somewhat like throwback to when baseball was the National Pastime just a decade after Jackie Robinson broke the race barrier. Well written and entertaining although the short format never allows the audience to get close to Billy or his teammates, fans will sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame, King style.