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Blaze

A Novel
Narrated by: Ron McLarty
Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,382 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 (from "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., 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.

Critic Reviews

"This diverting soft-boiled crime novel reflects influences ranging from John Steinbeck to James M. Cain." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good story

I like reading anything by King. Whenever he writes under the name Richard Bachman you know its going to be a classic.

94 of 97 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

forget the negative reviewers

I I don't know what those other reviewers are talking about. people saying that some stories don't need to be shared or every story doesn't need to have a listener... Just cuz this story isn't a horror story or not paranormal doesn't mean that it can't be a good story. I liked it. Sure.. like Stephen King himself said, it took a big idea from Of Mice and Men, but it still is a great story. It made you feel for a guy that didn't actually exist so it did its job.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Close to but better than Of Mice and Men

A story where you'll find yourself loving the bad guys. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and think it would make an excellent movie. The reader gave great personalities to the characters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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enjoyed this story

really great story....even though blaze was a criminal you did feel awfully bad for him...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Blaze Will Steal Your Heart

Clayton Blaisdell Jr. is an endearing man, whom we should feel guilty for loving, but don't. Damaged, homicidal, and definitely with at least one loose screw (from being tossed down the stairs as a baby), "Blaze," as he's known, is a two-strikes guy barreling through life looking for his third. This marvelous mixture of drama and semi-madness will make you laugh, cry, gasp, and hunger for more. With definite influences from Steinbeck to James M. Cain, it's a delicious crime novel treat. The narration by Ron McLarty is excellent and captures the heart of each character. I highly recommend this Stephen King "Bachman" book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dawn
  • Deltona, FL, United States
  • 02-02-08

Don't Listen to the Baddies

This book, including the narrator, are awesome! If our constant readers did not sympathize with Blaze and feel the tragedy of his existence, they should should be reading trash novels. This book may have been written years ago, but it is a testament to our throw-away lives and the divisions we draw between the have's and have-nots. Of the 4 more recent King books (Cell, Lisey, Duma, Blaze), this is far and away my absolute favorite!

13 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • United States
  • 07-03-07

A good listen

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.

14 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Decent story

Well read. Tame for a Bachman, in my opinion. Plot was predictable, but still worth the read.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Stephen King at his Best!

Blaze was well written and the performance by Mr. McLarty could not have been better! Hard to put this jewel of a story down.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Rick
  • Urcuqui, Ecuador
  • 10-24-18

Chasing the Dream

“Blaze” is an homage to “Of Mice and Men,” says Stephen King in a forward. He would know because, of course, he IS Richard Bachman. Blaze is a gentle giant with a mental disability, brain-damaged as a child at the hands of an abusive father, and now in the thrall of a small-time con artist named George—who in Ron McLarty’s narration sounds like a credibly raspy George Burns.

George came away from a stint in prison believing that the secret to criminal success is one big score, then retire. They plan to kidnap a baby for ransom. But now George is dead, while his voice lives on in Blaze’s head, providing guidance and encouragement to carry out the crime of a lifetime. There are strong parallels to Steinbeck, including the powerful motivation of a dream that always seems just out of reach.

Skillful manipulation mixing past and present maintains the pace but never confuses. Near the end of the book, we’re still learning new and interesting things about the characters’ pasts, while the future looks ever grimmer.

This would be the last of the Richard Bachman books. He was later reported to have died suddenly in 1985 of "cancer of the pseudonym."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful