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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Review: Blaze by Stephen King aka Richard Bachman

Blaze: A NovelBlaze
by Stephen King written as Richard Bachman
Publisher: Pocket
Publication Date: January 22, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Challenge: Stephen King
Rating: 3 STARS

BLURB courtesy of Goodreads 
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 1985 ("cancer of the pseudonym"), but this last gripping Bachman novel resurfaced after being hidden away for decades an unforgettable crime story tinged with sadness and suspense. Clayton Blaisdell, Jr., was always a small-time delinquent. None too bright either, thanks to the beatings he got as a kid. Then Blaze met George Rackley, a seasoned pro with a hundred cons and one big idea. The kidnapping should go off without a hitch, with George as the brains behind their dangerous scheme. But there's only one problem: by the time the deal goes down, Blaze's partner in crime is dead. Or is he?

Blaze is the last novel from Bachman’s period of greatest productivity from 1966-1973. As Stephen King put it, he was two men during this time. King was wrote and sold horror stories to raunchy skim-mags and Bachman wrote novels that didn’t sell to anybody. The facts that I just wrote I learned from King’s Full Disclosure at the beginning of Blaze and I also learned many other interesting facts.

I didn’t find Blaze a horrible read, just tedious at times. There isn’t much in action but just a steady build up to the end. It was worth reading till the end though. Before I even knew it I was sympathizing with Clayton Blaisdell, Jr. aka Blaze and really hoping that he would turn his life around. Unfortunately, the cards are just stacked against him.

Blaze’s life started with his father throwing him down the stairs causing him brain damage. He then is shipped off to a home for boys where he really starts his life of crime. He does have one chance at having normal life when a family adopts him, but because he defends himself against an attacking dog and kills it, he is sent packing back to the boy’s home. This truly begins his downward spiral I believe. After meeting up with George he is shown all new cons and is in awe of George. George and he decided to take on the biggest payoff of all, kidnapping a baby. Before this goes down, George is killed. Blaze knows that he must continue with the plan, because that is what George wants and George is still around and telling him what to do. So with George’s help Blaze sets into motion a series of events that lead to the final showdown.

The ending is tragic and heartbreaking. Blaze really is a good guy, he just makes really bad decisions.


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*Book was purchased personally by me.