Thursday, November 3, 2011

Blaze by Richard Bachman (Stephen King) - Scott's Revidew

By King's own admission in the book's intro he never meant for this novel to see the light of day. He calls it a "trunk novel," and, for many years, it actually sat in a trunk. It was written in 1972 but wasn't published until 2007. Blaze is a "Bachman Book" - Richard Bachman is Stephen King's pen name.

Blaze is the name of a man who is mentally retarded. He was taken under the wing of a con-man and used in the con-man's schemes. But then the con-man dies, leaving Blaze all alone in the world. Blaze's only hope for a happy ending is to successfully kidnap a rich family's young baby and ask for a ransom. He does this, but everything doesn't go as he planned...

Blaze was certainly a quick read and the plot moved forward quickly. The novel is told in alternating chapters - one in modern day (that is, 1972 modern day), the next in Blaze's formative years. While I didn't mind this, I sometimes wanted to skip over the childhood stuff, especially since most of the time it didn't directly impact what was happening in the modern story.

King does a good job of making Blaze a sympathetic character. This novel isn't so much a story as it is a character study. What makes a man do something do desperate?

I also liked that it remained a realistic fiction story, not fantasy like so many of King's novels. Sure, Blaze hears his dead friend's voice in his head but that's all he remains - a voice in Blaze's head. No ghosts or zombies in this novel!

Overall, it's an enjoyable, quick read that kept me turning the pages to see if Blaze would blindly stumble upon success or the inevitable failure.

This book is RECOMMENDED.

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