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Friday, September 21, 2012

A Face in the Crowd By by Stephen King Stewart O'Nan (REVIEW)

I'll admit it. As much as I'm a huge fan of Stephen King AND the game baseball, I have never read his first collaboration with Stewart O'Nan, Faithful . . . and likely never will. It looks like an interesting read, but the Blue Jays fan inside me just will not allow me to indulge nearly 500 pages of Red Sox rhetoric. :)

Fortunately, with A Face in the Crowd they have turned their attention away from the Sox, and away from the realm of fan-based non-fiction. Instead, they've written a short little Twilight Zone type slice of fiction about an elderly widower, banished by retirement (and his dearly departed wife) to the land of the Tampa Bay Rays.

The concept here is pretty simple. Basically, each night, as he sits down to watch the game on TV, Dean Evers spots somebody from his past sitting in the same premium seat behind home plate. The problem is, each of them is well and truly dead, passed on before his time. The prospect of watching another game begins to fill him with dread, as each face brings back painful memories, but his efforts at mental distraction do nothing more than delay his viewing by a few innings. Where the story really begins to get interesting is when his phone rings . . . and the woman behind the plate motions for him to pick it up.

It's a fun story, written with the baseball fan in mind, full of names and stats that definitely anchor it in the current season.Dean Evers is your typical King character, a nice guy with flaws, who is haunted by regrets and past indiscretions, but you do feel for him. There are 2 nice twists to the story - the phone call, plus one other - and an ending that's definitely a bit melancholy, but fitting.


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