Blaze is the story of Clayton Blaisdell, Jr., and 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.
©2007 Stephen King; (P)2007 Simon and Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.
"This diverting soft-boiled crime novel reflects influences ranging from John Steinbeck to James M. Cain." (Publishers Weekly)
This book was recommended by a podcast I listen to. In the introduction, King recalled thinking that when he first wrote Blaze it was really bad. Even after updating it to remove some dated references I wish King had stuck with his original opinion and never published this book. The book was awful, but I forced myself to listen to the whole thing just so I could write an honest review. Save yourself some time and money and skip Blaze. King is a great author and if you're a fan there are much better books to choose from.
Before I go into it further, I loved this book. The narrator brought the characters to life, the story was amazing, and the quality excellent. The experience was bitterweet though.... The story is one heartbreak after another. The story was well written, keeping suspence up throughout, whil still managing tohave flashbacks and story detail without ruining the story.
I am a huge Stephen King fan but I wasn't sure what to think about this book during the first 30 minutes of my listen. I found it very slow and tedious but I plowed through the beginning and was not disappointed in doing so. I was soon wrapped up in the characters and found myself feeling sympathetic towards Blaze as he struggled to deal with the cards life dealt him. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a glimpse into the master's creative mind of his earlier years.
I love 90% Stephen King, and I know it's unrealistic for everything he does to have the golden touch. This would have been a great book to write under a psydenom (how do you spell that??) because then it would have to stand on it's own merits, not those of books that came before. This book never would have the publicity and exposure it did, and I wouldn't have jumped to buy it (my own fault). I don't want to knock it completely, just thought it was less than average.
This story follows two lines. In the "now" we watch as a dim-witted oaf of a criminal (Blaze)bumbles his way through a kidnapping, somewhat guided by his dead companion George. In the "not-so-long-ago" we watch this character grow up and become the person he is. While the character is well, developed, I couldn't help, but picture Blaze as an old cartoon character - maybe someone who showed up on an episode of the Flinstones. At times it seems like King delves into rants about American politics. There were times where I wanted to shout, "Okay, already. I get it. You don't like Republicans. On with the story."
Overall the story was engrossing enough that it was worth the time spent listening to it. My favourite Bachman book was "The Long Walk" and this falls short of that mark. But it was better than "From a Buick Eight."
A long time "dear reader" of Stephen King's (and his alter ego's) books, I've found, unfortunatley, more and more, his latest books (written or published) to be unfortunate affairs. Carrie, The Stand (original), Different Seasons, Christine, Dead Zone--they all shine. Even some of his new ones have moments. BUT "Blaze" should have been kept in the box (as Stephen King himself has wondered, in the preface). And what is truly horrifying about this book is that what he feared the most has come true. I giggled uncontrollably throughout the entire book...I understand he is a prolific writer, but not everything he writes--as much as he may enjoy writing and reading them--needs an audience.
The book is written well and in Stephen Kings often dilluted style. With that being said, i love stephen kings writing, however, after reading too much of him the writing is almost see through.
Overall the book has an emersive story and is interesting right down to the last, however, the book also has some faults. Stephen King identifies his faults right in the preface, which may be where i got them from, or perhaps the book itself gave them to me. Regardless, the fact that the flashbacks are more entertaining than the actual story and the constant demented simplicity of the current situation in the story makes for a boring main storyline.
Characters are well developed and the story is well rounded. Good read, hard to stay interested though.
I couldn't stop listening to this. All the character's are brought to life and you know who they are. Not a boring part to it. You know how it has to end but you keep hoping that it doesn't.
I love Stephen King and typically like Richard Bachman. Even though this book is a "trunk novel" as described by King, it doesn't feel out of date. It was narrated perfectly with great character differences. Bachman makes you care about the main character and how he finds himself in the current predicament. Well worth the credit.
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