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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

Worth the wait

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.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Bitter sweet listening

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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story


King wrote this when he was 25. He wrote it before CARRIE. He thought it was bad and threw it in a trunk, so he calls it a trunk book. He never even submitted it to be published. Recently he brought it out, updated it, thought it was bad still, and then convinced himself it was good. I did not care for it. I did not like the similarities to OF MICE AND MEN,and I found it boring for the most part. I did enjoy it when they went back in time and showed us Blaze's childhood. I found the talking to a dead guy, to be annoying and my mind kept wondering through the rest of the book. I also recognized the childhood part, as I believe King has reprinted that in one of his collections or somebodies collection.

Pass on this

74 of 91 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Claire
  • Encinitas, CA, United States
  • 10-02-15

The reader was Awesome

Great story, found myself routing for the "bad, but sweet guy"
The reader spoke clearly and colorfully

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • G.
  • boulder creek, ca
  • 07-24-07


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.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ross
  • Mosinee, WI, United States
  • 02-28-08

Good, but lacking

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kenji
  • New York, NY, USA
  • 07-11-07

I am giggling...

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.

23 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gary
  • 12-21-07

Waste of time

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.

14 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Alli
  • Monroe, GA, USA
  • 06-27-08

Loved it

I love the way King can make you care about anyone, even the bad guys, and even while your stomach hurts waiting for the bad thing....Great narrator too!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • 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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful