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Paperback Blaze Book

ISBN: 1416555048

ISBN13: 9781416555049


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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good


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Book Overview

Master storyteller Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman) presents this gripping and remarkable New York Times bestselling crime novel about a damaged young man who embarks on an ill-advised kidnapping plot--a work as taut and riveting as anything he has ever written. Once upon a time, a fellow named Richard Bachman wrote Blaze on an Olivetti typewriter, then turned the machine over to Stephen King, who used it to write Carrie . Bachman died in...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings


Great book so far.

A King by any other name ... well, you know ... Bachman!

On the fourth day in my new home, unpacking was going smoothly: I was busy placing my books in bookshelves--"their" new home--when I came across Blaze, a novel written by Stephen King under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman. This is the last book from Bachman's "early period"; King says Bachman died in 1985 from "pseudonym cancer." While Bachman was writing slow-selling novels, King was building his reputation writing and selling short horror stories. (As you probably know, after retiring Bachman, King's very first book under his real name was Carrie ... and the rest is history.) Although King/Bachman wrote Blaze in 1973--King calls Bachman his "younger/smart-assier self"--it wasn't published until 2006 after one of King's assistants found the original typescript among his papers at the University of Maine's Fogler Library. This review is written from a 2007 hardcover edition with a foreword by King; this book and the one I'm posting it under are hard to find, except on the secondary market. Although nothing Bachman wrote seemed to please King's more mature self, he started reading Blaze and thought it was better than most of Bachman's published novels. He decided to revise and publish it, donating proceeds to the Haven Foundation which supports freelance artists. And am I glad King published this book! As he hoped readers would, I "came for a good story" and got much more than that. This is a gripping story; a sad tale that grabbed me by the lapels from the first page and never let go. In fact, in between unpacking and a multitude of "moving woes," I finished this exciting book in two days I'm mesmerized by the main character, Clayton Blaisdell, Jr.--Blaze for short. He's a complex, sympathetic character for whom I rooted from the "get-go." After his mother dies when he's only three years old, poor little Blaze's father does something so horrendous to him that he ends up being a "slow thinker" and is made a ward of the state. Blaze grows into a "Big Mother" whose appearance is intimidating, but he has a gentle soul, only harming those who mistreat small, defenseless people and his friends. He is loved by all who really know him, but once again suffers abuse by authorities in the boys' institution. What happens to him in the institution that accelerates his rage, honing his hard edges? What happens to his best friend John? What does Blaze do to avenge John? How does he meet his new friend George who takes him under his wing and indoctrinates him into a life of petty crime? After George is killed, how does he help Blaze pull off the "big, final" crime they had always dreamed of? Why does he end up kidnapping a small, defenseless baby, son of a wealthy family? How could "the bull-simple dummy" do it alone? What happens when little Joe steals his heart? And why, with the cops closing in, is Blaze clutching the baby to his chest as he plunges deeper into the white hell of a powerful snowstorm in the Maine woods? In Blaze, Bachman/King ans

Tragically Fantastic

I was too cheap to buy this book (as hardcovers are expensive) so I took it off the shelf of the supermarket I work at and read it on my breaks. I found this book so enthralling that I ended up punching back in late a few times. With about a hundred pages left, I was sick of reading it in fifteen minute intervals, so I drove to Barnes & Nobles and finished it earlier today. Although it's still sinking in, I think this book is fantastic. It's books like this that remind me why I love Stephen King. I was a little skeptical about this book, as his last few novels had pretty bad vibes. I thought "Cell" was horrendous, and after reading reviews of "Lisey's Story" I decided to wait until I could find a used copy as opposed to buying it new. When I read that this book was actually a trunk novel written by King sometime in the 1970's (at least I think it was the 1970's) I was a bit more hopeful. I was expecting something better than "Cell", but I had no idea just how much better it would be. If I could sum up this album in one word, it would be "tragic". Everything about Blaze's (the main character) life is tragic, and yet it somehow weaves a beautiful, thoughtful story. It was a wonderful character study of a man who appeared to be a monster from the outside, but was tragically (there I go using that word again) complciated inside. I've never felt sympathy for a story's villian the way I do for Blaze. King has a way of drawing the reader in and making him/her truly understand his characters. There are a few other aspects of this novel that I love. First of all, it's not overly wordy, which is a problem I find with most of King's books. This is the first Bachman book I've ever read, so I'm not sure if Bachman simply isn't as wordy as King, or if this book is unusually lean. Either way, I liked it. Another aspect I love is the obvious parallel it has to John Steinbeck's "Of Mice & Men". From characters to events in the story, there were many similarities. Bottom line: There are very few books that I give five star ratings to, and this book truly earns it. It's possibly my favorite King novel (I need to let it sink in a bit more before I can make that call) and it's definately one of the best books I've read in the last few years.

Bachman is back from the dead...again!

It comes as no surprise that 'Blaze' does not read like a Stephen King novel -- most of the Bachman books (with the exception of 'Thinner') are like that. When writing as Bachman, King adopts a different voice, harsher and more direct, and even the types of stories he tells are different. In this case, it would be hard to imagine a book that would surprise me more, coming from King's keyboard. Coming from Bachman, however, it sounds just about right. 'Blaze' is named for its lead character, whose full name is Clayton Blaisdell, Jr. but has gone by Blaze for most of his life. Blaze is a big guy, practically a monster of a man, complete with a nasty-looking indentation on his forehead and a rather slow intellect, both the result of an abusive father. Blaze is also a small-time criminal, but as the novel opens is looking to upgrade to the big time by kidnapping the newborn baby of a rich family. It was a plan cooked up by George Rackley, his former partner in crime. Problem is, George is dead, but Blaze still hears him (and talks to him) in his head. The story begins just as Blaze is making his plans for the kidnapping alone. By jumping back and forth in the story, we learn of Blaze's colored history in and out of foster homes and orphanages, at the same time as he is committing his biggest crime ever, with the help of George's voice, always heard but never seen. In this sense, 'Blaze' is King (Bachman?) at his most effective, telling stories in parallel, giving us glimpses and facets of this compelling character, but never all of it. He keeps us reading right to the end, enthralled by both the story and the characters he creates within it. Blaze himself stands out as one of King's most interesting people. He is not a writer or a teacher, he is about as far from an academic as you can get. He is a criminal, and not even an especially good one...but all the same, as the story progresses and you see how he got where he is, your heart will go out to him. Blaze is treated like a real person, never a cipher or a symbol, and therein lies the real strength of the novel as a whole. Comparisons have been made to Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men' and even King himself admits that 'Blaze' is an homage to that novel. And while there are similarities, bear in mind that 'Blaze' is a story all its own as well. 'Of Mice and Men' is a great story, and I feel like 'Blaze' is a great story too...but what makes each story great is different. In the telling of his tale, King found a unique voice, told a unique tale, and gave us a unique character to explore. Blaze is a big, clumsy guy, a criminal, not terribly bright, not very good-looking, not smooth or talented or skilled in any particular way. He is no James Bond or Kay Scarpetta or Anita Blake. And yet, by the time this novel is done, King makes you care about him, makes you want to help him, and even makes you cry for him a little. Or at least, that's what he made me do.

Absolutely riveting!

Imagine a man who's spent almost his entire life finding trouble. He's mildly retarded, is a con man and a thief, has been in and out of jail, and has a big dent in his forehead that makes him ugly to boot. Top all of this off with the bone-chilling fact that he decides to kidnap for ransom the child of a rich family--a completely innocent and helpless baby! Now imagine this: you find yourself unequivocally liking the guy! It doesn't matter that he's a con man and a thief. All of the horribleness he engages in seems justified due to the many difficulties he's faced in life. Heck, you cheer when he beats up the headmaster at his school (actually Hetton House, a county home), and you're even rooting for him to kidnap the baby without getting caught! So is the mastery of Stephen King, writing as his pseudonym Richard Bachman. Blaze is a book that will have you scratching your head in bewilderment over the fact that you have found yourself in like with a person like Blaze (aka as Clayton Blaisdell, Jr.). Additionally, you'll feel sadness and sympathy, anger and pain. The story of Blaze's unfortunate life will leave you filled with the utmost desire to lift up your head and unabashedly roar at the fates.

Thoroughly Entertaining & Enjoyable

Stephen King may be the "master of horror," but with BLAZE he proves that he's also just a plain ole good writer. This story is a mixture of a thriller, a mystery, a police procedural, and a personal struggle to figure out who you are. Blaze, aka Clayton Blaisdell, Jr., is a dummy, and he knows it. Ever since his father threw him down a flight of stairs (and then hauled him back up and did it a couple of more times), Blaze hasn't had the brains for learning. The dent in his forehead might make him look scary, but we soon learn that Blaze isn't much of a threat -- except when he's really angry. He might look like a giant at 6'7" and nearly 300 pounds, but this man's heart is as soft as his mind. Blaze has pretty much drifted through life by skirting the law and mostly (with exceptions) avoiding trouble. When he meets George Rackley, Blaze learns the art of the con. The two of them (or, rather, George) have been planning one big job for awhile now. That big job would be kidnapping the baby of a rich couple, collecting the ransom, and living the high-life somewhere with white sandy beaches and lots of sun. But we soon learn that things aren't going quite the way either man had expected. For one, George is dead, even though he's still helping with the kidnapping plot. For another, Blaze, as we've already learned, isn't the smartest guy around. What follows is a mixture of present day mystery/thriller as Blaze carries out the kidnapping of little Joey, mixed with the flashbacks of his life that show how Blaze ends up where he's at. King (aka Bachman..does it really matter the name?) shows great control in the pacing of BLAZE, and expertly weaves the present with the past. You'll also be surprised (and entertained) by the joy that is Blaze, who is a wonderful, fully-developed character. This one is a winner!
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