Details from Audible:

Blaze: A Novel

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.

Initial Thoughts:

I read a book a long time ago by “Richard Bachman” (who is Stephen King for anyone who’s really in the dark!) and I enjoyed it. King is the master of horror but everyone makes mistakes (and by that I mean book 6 and 7 of The Dark Tower) and once I finished the Dark Tower series I took a long break from his writing. This one showed up on Audible and as it was short (I prefer short books) and got a good rating I decided to give it a try (plus I had 6 credits and had to use at least 1).

Main Points:

I’ll say right away, I loved this book. The narrator was excellent doing different voices/characters and he always put in the right out of expression. He sounds just the way I would have pictured the characters. This is a unique book as it’s really all about one guy, Blaze. Blaze is an unusual guy, he’s a criminal, likes to steal, do con games and plans to (and does) kidnap a baby but you still can’t help but like him.

I suppose I’ll say to say

SPOILER ALERT!

Blaze is an interesting character, sure he’s a criminal and as he has such size and strength he can easily kill someone if provoked or if he’s defending a friend. He is fiercely loyal to the few friends he had (both died, one right in front of him) and is capable of showing kindness and humor. Despite the terrible things he does (including murder and kidnapping) you can’t help but like him. Blaze initially does the kidnapping for the money and there is even a moment where he nearly kills the kid. After this point, however, Blaze starts to love Joe (the baby) and does his best to love, care and protect him.

King does a great job of a simple back and forth, one chapter is Blaze in the present, one is the past. Eventually both timelines catch up (within a few months) and we are left with the sad fate of Blaze’s failed kidnapping attempt.

The interesting part of the book is the voice of George. George is one of the only friend’s Blaze ever had and unlike John Chelsman, sticks around even after his death. By this I mean Blaze hear’s George’s voice in his head, he comes to him when he needs help and advice. There are times he even sees him, times where Blaze talks about a presence and up ’till the end we aren’t sure about it.

It’s a short listen at under 10 hours and that’s the way I like it. Not a complicated story but excellent pacing, well-drawn characters and an exciting conclusion all make this an excellent story for me, one of King’s best in my opinion.

Final Thoughts:

At the end the baby seems to get a glimpse of Blaze (who has been killed the FBI, shot in the back numerous times), or is it George? I liked how Blaze also seems to have a connection to the birds, the image of a lone bird on a wire and loneliness is an interesting one. I also loved how secretly a part of Blaze will carry on, in the child he unknowingly fathered. As I said before I loved this book. I’ve always been fascinated with darker aspects of human nature. Blaze has a darkness inside him, is capable of murder and great violence but still you like him. I wanted Blaze to win and was sad when he didn’t. Blaze was a character who suffered (by his father and other figures throughout his life) and ultimately made the wrong decision but he sure makes for a memorable book. I can’t find a single thing wrong this and I give it 10 out of 10. The highest recommendation for any King/crime/ghost story fan. Not for children, I would say ages 14+. I am very glad this book got to see the light of day.