Blaze Paperback – 20 Dec 2012
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There was a time when admirers of Stephen King would seek out every scrap from the Masters 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'BLAZE feels like an essential missing piece in King's oeuvre...compelling' (Independent on Sunday)
'King's brilliance is in making his readers root for the kidnapper rather than the authorities' (Daily Telegraph)
Tightly written and compelling (Daily Express)
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As always im never disappointed with Stephen King's stories, also I must mention Richard Bachman. I read this book in four sessions.Published 4 months ago by dopper