Blaze: A Novel
Richard Bachman, Stephen King
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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."
aware of passing time. The true indicator of Georges genius was that when he and the mark came in, the mark hardly ever looked nervous. Eager, but not nervous. Blaze gave them fifteen minutes, then went up. Never think about it as coming in the room, George said. Think of it as going onstage. The only one who dont know its showtime is the mark. Blaze always used his key and walked onstage saying his first line: Hank, darling, Im so glad to be back. Then he got mad, which he did
streetlight. Pursing and relaxing. Almost like a fish-mouth. The nights deep cold had not touched it yet. Nothing peeked out of its blankets but its head and that one tiny hand. Blaze jumped the hedge, got his ladder, and picked up the basket again. He crossed the road in a hurried crouch. Then he moved across the field on his earlier diagonal path. At the Cyclone fence surrounding the Oakwood parking lot, he put the ladder up again (it wasnt necessary to extend it this time), and carried his
remembered the Bowies too well. Toe-Jam couldnt stop talking about finding a girl to jazz around with. Blaze didnt believe he himself had to spend much time worrying about that. He still thought about Marjorie Thurlow, but what was the sense in thinking about the rest of them? Girls liked tough guys, fellows who could kid them along like the guys in the movies did. Besides, girls scared him. Going into a toilet stall at HH with Toe-Jams treasured copy of Girl Digest and beating off did him
fresh Krispy Kremes on offer. Any truth to that? I opened my mouth, then closed it again. Once, when I was ten and growing up in Eau Claire, I took a comic book from a drugstore spin-around, put it down the front of my jeans, then dropped my tee-shirt over it. As I was strolling out the door, feeling clever, a clerk grabbed me by the arm. She lifted my shirt with her other hand and exposed my ill-gotten treasure. How did that get there? she asked me. Not in the forty years since had I been
so completely stuck for an answer to a simple question. Finally - long after such a response could have any weight - I said, Thats ridiculous. I dont know where she could have gotten such an idea. No? No. Sure you dont want a Coke? Thanks, but Ill pass. I got up and got a Coke from the kitchen fridge. I tucked the bottle firmly between my stump and my chest-wall - possible but painful, I dont know what you may have seen in the movies, but broken ribs hurt for a long time - and