Synopses & Reviews
The last of the Richard Bachman novels, recently recovered and published for the first time. Stephen King's "dark half" may have saved the best for last.
A fellow named Richard Bachman wrote Blaze in 1973 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 in late 2006 King found the original typescript of Blaze among his papers at the University of Maine's Fogler Library ("How did this get here?!"), and decided that with a little revision it ought to be published.
Blaze is the story of Clayton Blaisdell, Jr. -- of the crimes committed against him and the crimes he commits, including his last, the kidnapping of a baby heir worth millions. Blaze has been a slow thinker since childhood, when his father threw him down the stairs -- and then threw him down again. After escaping an abusive institution for boys when he was a teenager, Blaze hooks up with George, a seasoned criminal who thinks he has all the answers. But then George is killed, and Blaze, though haunted by his partner, is on his own.
He becomes one of the most sympathetic criminals in all of literature. This is a crime story of surprising strength and sadness, with a suspenseful current sustained by the classic workings of fate and character -- as taut and riveting as Stephen King's The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.
"'Clayton 'Blaze' Blazedell Jr.'s chance for a normal life ended when his father repeatedly threw him down a flight of stairs. After finishing his adolescence in an orphanage, the large man with a striking dent in his forehead plays sidekick to George, a social deviant with a knack for cons. However, when George is killed, Blaze must come up with a con of his own. With George's ghost to guide him, Blaze just might pull it off. Stephen King's last novel under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman has all the classic markings of the auteur, but is marred even before it starts by King's introduction, where he almost apologizes for publishing the book. Having narrated several King books already, McLarty already knows the author's syntax. His raspy but gentle narration provides a familiar and comforting voice for King fans. His rasp lightens up when delivering the slow-witted Blaze, but then deepens for George's scratchy voice. His old-timer Maine accents also produce a smile, when not evoking mental images of grizzled old semitoothed men. Simultaneous release with the Scribner hardcover (Reviews, May 21). (June)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Richard Bachman was Stephen Kings other writing name for his non-supernatural work before he finally hit it big with "Carrie." The manuscript of "Blaze" sat in a university library until King rewrote it decades later. Unabridged. 7 CDs.