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Blaze Paperback – 21 Feb 2008

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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: 11.7 x 17.8 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 380,051 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

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Dr Evil TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 July 2007
Format: Hardcover
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 By L. A. MARTIN on 2 July 2007
Format: Hardcover
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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Sue Lewendon VINE VOICE on 22 Sept. 2007
Format: Hardcover
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 By Hagrid's Umbrella VINE VOICE on 18 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By George Kelly on 21 Feb. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
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 famous novel.

The main character, Blaze, is a criminal, and his partner in crime George is dead. But Blaze can still hear him in his head; or NOT in his head, because maybe George is still alive. Blaze doesn't know because not only is he a dummy, but he's also an idiot too. Plus he's stupid. So, Blaze, going along with a plan that George cooked up before he died all of a sudden (if he did, in fact, die), plans to steal a baby for ransom. It's the perfect crime: the baby can't escape or write notes or call the cops, and the baby can't ID his kidnappers, which means no jail time. Or so says George.

Anyway, so Blaze goes about this kidnapping like a true dumbo does, bumbling his way through everything. But at the centre of it all is a heartfelt little story about a dumb dude who falls for a kid. The kid is so damn cute and loveable that this Blaze guy just loves him and wants to protect him, which isn't too great seeing as the FBI are on his back, closing in on him. Whilst all that's going on, Stephen King goes back into Blaze's childhood, more than once, and lets us delve into Blaze's back-story, and how he came to be the person he is. King even says in his introduction that he thought the flashbacks were probably stronger than the actual front story, and I'd agree. The back-story is what makes this novel.

The front story is OK, pretty slow and predictable, and without the back-story the novel would have been a little too static and not really worthy of publication.
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