Synopses & Reviews
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?
Includes a previously uncollected story, "Memory" the riveting opening to Stephen King's new Scribner hardcover novel, Duma Key.
"Written circa 1973, this 'trunk novel,' as Bachman's double (aka Stephen King) refers to it in his self-deprecating foreword, lacks the drama and intensity of Carrie and the horror opuses that followed it. Still, this fifth Bachman book (after 1996's The Regulators) shows King fine-tuning his skill at making memorable characters out of simple salt-of-the-earth types. Clayton 'Blaze' Blaisdell has fallen into a life of delinquency ever since his father's brutal abuse rendered him feebleminded. King alternates chapters recounting Blaze's past mistreatment at a series of Maine orphanages and foster homes with Blaze's current plans to follow through on a kidnapping scheme plotted by his recently murdered partner in crime, George Rackley. Blaze talks to George as though he's still there, and the conversations give the tale tension, with Blaze coming across as a pitiable and surprisingly sympathetic contrast to prickly George. Despite its predictability, this diverting soft-boiled crime novel reflects influences ranging from John Steinbeck to James M. Cain. Also included is a previously uncollected story, 'Memory,' the seed of King's forthcoming novel Duma Key. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Stephen King, who 'buried' Bachman in 1985, here revamps a 1973 manuscript by his alter ego that he says is something of an homage to James T. Farrell, Jim Thompson, and Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Powerful and moving, it's a worthy tribute, especially to Steinbeck." Booklist (Starred Review)
"[A]n exquisitely written tale of suspense....It's classic American noir. Here's hoping there's another Bachman novel moldering in a trunk somewhere." USA Today
"[A]n exquisitely written tale of suspense....In this unexpectedly heartfelt novel, the words swirl up off the pages, forming cinematic images that engage the mind and tug at the heart. It's classic American noir. Here's hoping there's another Bachman novel moldering in a trunk somewhere." USA Today
"Blaze can best be described as a fair example of lightweight literary noir. It's not as fine as Cain, nor as down-and-dirty as the hardboiled works of Richard Stark or Jim Thompson (two other writers King cites as inspirations in his intro), but it's still a worthwhile read." Chicago Sun-Times
"Although King's flourishes have turned out an entertaining book, it's a pity that he is more serious about being taken seriously as an author. He should have committed himself to writing a truly comic caper." Edward Champion, The Los Angeles Times
"No matter to whom it is credited, Blaze contains some of King's finest work." BookReporter.com
"What makes this novel interesting...is that it's a book from which King has tried to cut the sentiment to leave something harder and more lasting....What we get is King's former alter ego channelling John Steinbeck, in a novel that reads like Of Mice and Men written as a crime caper." The Telegraph (U.K.)
Written under the Richard Bachman pseudonym months before Stephen King completed his first novel Carrie
is one of the best lost novels ever to resurface the story of a small-time delinquent who teams up with a seasoned pro in a kidnapping scheme.
This Premium Edition includes "Memory," the riveting opening of King's latest novel, Duma Key.
About the Author
During the years 19661973, Stephen King was actually two men. Stephen King wrote (and sold) horror stories to magazines such as Cavalier
, while Richard Bachman wrote a series of novels that would not be published until the early 1980s and were then collected as The Bachman Books
. Bachman died of pseudonym cancer in 1985, shortly after another of his novels, Thinner
, was attributed to Stephen King; but a sixth Bachman novel, The Regulators
, surfaced in 1995 and was published simultaneously with Stephen King's Desperation
, to which it bore a weird resemblance. Blaze
both brutal and sensitive was the last novel written during Bachman's early period. It is his legacy.
King's proceeds from Blaze will be donated to The Haven Foundation, which supports freelance artists.