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Blaze [Paperback]

Stephen King
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Book Description

21 Feb 2008
Clay Blaisdell is one big mother, but his capers are strictly small-time until his mentor introduces him to the one big score that every small-timer dreams of: kidnap. But now the brains of the operation has died - or has he? - and Blaze is alone with a baby as hostage. The Crime of the Century just turned into a race against time in the white hell of the Maine woods.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (21 Feb 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340952245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340952245
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 319,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

There was a time when admirers of Stephen King would seek out every scrap from the Master’s work bench, and it was a cause for celebration when it was discovered that the writer Richard Bachman was, in fact, a pseudonym for King. There were more King novels available than we had all thought! And it was even more an occasion for celebration when it was discovered just how good these Bachman books were.

With Blaze (issued here with a new foreword by Stephen King), we have one of the most adroit entries in the series. King had written the book in 1973 and it had subsequently vanished from his personal radar as he busied himself writing Carrie and Salem's Lot, two of the books that were to both make his fortune and establish him as the greatest modern master of horror fiction. When Blaze turned up among his papers in the library of the University of Maine, he looked at it again, and (fortunately for King aficionados) sanctioned its publication.

Clay Blaisdell is a hulking 6' 7'' petty criminal who encounters another lowlife with large ambitions: George Rackley has a fund of criminal schemes, but his Big Idea is to kidnap the children of rich parents and hold them to ransom. What ensues is shot through with the masterly orchestration of tension that is Stephen King's métier. If there are some undigested influences here (the two protagonists -- one massive and powerful, the other the brains of the duo -- owe more than a little to George and Lenny in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men), the personality that comes through (leaving aside the Richard Bachman nom-de-plume) is Stephen King, and followers of his work will need no persuasion to pick up this one. --Barry Forshaw


'BLAZE feels like an essential missing piece in King's oeuvre...compelling' (Independent on Sunday)

'BLAZE feel like an essential missing piece in King's oeuvre, bridging the gap between the occasionally derivative, but always compelling, Bachman novels and the shocking power of CARRIE' (Independent on Sunday)

'King's brilliance is in making his readers root for the kidnapper rather than the authorities. Of course King to going to make Clay fall in love with the baby; of course the baby is going to return that love; and of course the book's going to remain a three-handkerchief weepy. Cut out the sentiment? This is Stephen King. You might as well try cutting the blue veins from a block of Stilton.' (Telegraph)

'King's brilliance is in making his readers root for the kidnapper rather than the authorities' (Daily Telegraph)

'Tightly written and compelling' (Daily Express)

Storytelling - the ability to make the listener or the reader need to know, demand to know, what happens next - is a gift. Stephen King, like Charles Dickens before him, has this gift in spades (The Times on CELL)

'Thrilling, genuinely terrifying, beautifully textured and full of wonderful invention' (Daily Mail on LISEY'S STORY)

'A consummate and compassionate novel - one of King's very best' (Guardian on LISEY'S STORY)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic King 16 July 2007
Stephen King's latest novel, 'Blaze' is a book that was apparently lost within King's files. It was published under the name of Richard Bachman and written in 1973 (before all of his other main works).

The story goes through the life of the gentle giant, Clayton Blaisdell (aka Blaze) who, because of being beaten and thrown down the stairs by his father at a young age, is mentally challenged (called a dummy throughout) and is easily led on, which brings him to a life of crime with various petty criminals. One of which named George, who is dead but is also the one who leads Blaze to the kidnapping of a baby in return for the ransom of $1million.

At first this book was pretty hard to get into, but once I had gotten used to it flicking backwards and forwards between Blaze's youth and the present day and the fact that he is talking to and listening to a dead person, I couldn't put the book down and finished it in just three short sittings. Having not read a King book for about 3 or 4 years, it was brilliant to experience King's unique style of writing again and has prompted me to purchase his two latest novels that I missed (Cell & Lisey's Story) which I'm really looking forward to reading now.

This is a tense and exciting book which fans of Stephen King/Richard Bachman should love. It is not a horror story, more of an adventure through Blaze's troubled, unfair and gullable life, mixed with a crime thriller. The heartwarming relationships between Blaze and Johnny (his friend from HH) and Blaze and the kidnapped baby, Joe, will make it impossible for you not to like Blaze's character, despite him being a thief, a kidnapper and a murderer. This is a classic (maybe over-looked) King novel that should be up there with likes of The Green Mile, The Body (Stand by Me) and The Shawshank Redemption, although it does sometimes feel a little like an over-run short story.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blaze 2 July 2007
I absolutely loved this book - read it in two days, could hardly keep my nose out of it! If you are a "constant reader" you will recognise this book as King's earlier work but personally, with an exception or two, I find them the best of all his stuff. Even if you are not a Stephen King fan, you will love this one.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read! 22 Sep 2007
By Sue Lewendon VINE VOICE
I managed to read this in 2 sittings. It was quite unputdownable and really easy too. It was also a real page turner.

It tells the story of 6ft 7in Clayton Blaisdell. (The kidnapping story is almost 2nd to his childhood story.) King has once again perfectly captured what it is to be a young, downtrodden youth from nowhere special. You get a real feel for this gentle, (okay so he clobbers a few people and strangles another), giant of a man who just wants to please his dead friend George. Yes that's correct...his DEAD friend George.

His friend has been gone for the last 3 months but Blaze isn't 100% sure he's really gone. If he were, he wouldn't be able to hold whole conversations with him now would he? No, Blaze is convinced that George is still hanging around to take care of things for him.

The whole story is quite a touching one, despite it being about a man kidnapping a poor defenseless baby. It had me wanting him to get away with it and to run away with said baby, but this is a King story...ho hum.

It's definitely worth a read if you're a fan of King but you don't need to be. It's not a horror by any means, more of a film noir book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will probably re-read it at some point. I say give it a go, it's only 291 pages long after all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Superb Story, with a Great Character 18 Nov 2009
By Hagrid's Umbrella VINE VOICE
Blaze is a small time crook faced with a dilemma, he's not so bright but has been inspired (and is regularly advised) by his partner in crime to take on one big crime to set him up. Oh yes and his partner in crime is dead.

King, as always, creates a well developed character and even though he's not on the right side of the law you understand his motivation and in this instance you have a lot of sympathy for the character. As the story unravels we learn lots about what's happened to him and the significant people in his life.

As with many of King's books there's not really that much horror to the story, some unpleasantness but not really any horror in this one. By anyone else and this could be considered a literary novel.

Interestingly this is him as Bachman and the profit for this book go to charity and that doesn't means it's a duffer. It was an delight to read and up there with my other King favourites of Dolores Claiborne, IT, The Long Walk, The Talisman and The Green Mile. The pleasure comes from his effortless writing style, his ability to make you engage and understand the characters and a good story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All round winner! 20 Jan 2008
Great characters, great story, and a proper ending (unlike Cell). This is the Stephen King I grew up with and love. The complex stories are interesting but this is more like it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars welcome back........................ 1 Oct 2007
By kermit 333 VINE VOICE
like other reviewers I have been disappointed by Kings books in recent years but this shows him reverting to what he does best, which is a good ol' fashioned story! more of the same please!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable..... 4 July 2007
.....but definatley lacking wider coverage of Clayton Blaisdell's youth, it almost seems like an introduction to a character that King would most likely use in later tomes, however the ending suggests this may not be the case.

I read it in 4 hours, and would recommend it to all King Constant Readers. King himself says it's a trunk novel, and he is right, I would certainly not recommend it to a King first timer, his style is inimitable however it resembles his earlier work and does not leave the reader wanting to search for more by the author.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Stephen King fan was delighted.
Published 8 days ago by Mrs Pamela Beard
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
another great book arrived on time
Published 25 days ago by ron shatwell
4.0 out of 5 stars Of mice and men. King Style
Having once read (but to a degree forgotten) Of mice and men, this felt very much like King's attempt to re-write it. Nevertheless, the story did just enough to keep me interested. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Pen Name
5.0 out of 5 stars wow
Never let's me down, he is an old friend, a place I escape to when time are roughage and the emery boards are few. Thanks SK....your not number one fan...... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Kimberley Broughton
3.0 out of 5 stars Blazin'
Blaze is loosely based on the Steinbeck novel "Of Mice and Men". It's a modern reworking, in a sense, something which Stephen King admits to, calling it an homage to Steinbeck's... Read more
Published 6 months ago by George Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars You made me cry
Stephen you made me cry once more in all your book s and I be read them all over the years everything you wrote alone or with others even Tabithas book ??????????? Read more
Published 8 months ago by pauline angela reed
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book
This is not one of Stephen King's "blockbusters"; rather it seems to be an earlier work he discovered lying in a drawer years after completing it. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Kenny G
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
Although it's a short book I still enjoyed it. We'll probably meet people like Blaze even at first we don't realise it; or knew someone at school like him. Read more
Published 11 months ago by charlie k
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent addition for King fans!
I Hadn't even heard of this book! Its a very entertaining page turner and worthy addition for all Stephen King fans.
Published 12 months ago by Stuart Ball
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't love it
This was the weakest SK story I have read so far. Wouldn't recommend unless you don't have anything else to read.
Published 12 months ago by JANETTE HUNTER
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