Posted: June 11, 2007
Richard Bachman is back from the grave…well, sort of. His latest book, Blaze, was written in the early 1970s, over 30 years ago. When King found it he edited it somewhat, before he published it and both he and Bachman were very careful not to reveal what year the story takes place. The book never mentions an exact date for any event but President Ronald Reagan is mentioned so if you wanted to calculate the approximate time, you probably could.
The story is about Clayton Blaisdell, Jr or Blaze as he is called by his friend and his partner George Rackley. They are petty criminals that mostly deal with cons but now have decided to do the big one, the last hit before they’ll be able to retire. They plan on kidnapping the small child of a wealthy family…
The only problem is that George now only exists in Blaze’s head. In real life he is in fact dead. Blaze goes trough with the plan anyway and even though he isn’t very smart he has the luck he needs to be successful in grabbing the baby.
Now he just have to find a way to get the ransom money delivered without getting caught and then return the baby. Or maybe he should keep the baby? After all, he is starting to get rather attached to him…
Even though Blaze is an old novel it feels very fresh. I’m not sure how much King edited it before he released it but it feels new. Personally though I think it’s more King than Bachman. The other Bachman novels were all more critical to the US society, something Blaze is missing. Still, it’s fun that it’s released as a Bachman book. I like Bachman.
It’s revealed pretty early though (in the foreword in fact) that it was really written by King and not Bachman. If there is one thing I would want to change with Blaze it’s that it should have less mentioning of Stephen King, like The Regulators had. That one was more a Bachman book while Blaze is a King book, even though it has Bachman’s name on the cover.
Still though, it’s the story that matters and the story of Blaze is very well told and it deals as much with the kidnapping as with Blaze’s background. Bachman/King switches between the two time-frames in a very effective way.
The audio edition is read by Ron McLarty who is a master, if not the master, of narrating books. The only one beating him in reading King’s books is King himself if you ask me. He has a voice that’s perfect for narrating and you can really feel that he is puts his soul into giving the characters their own personality.
Lilja's final words about Blaze
Blaze is a very good book and a very fast read, as it’s just under 300 pages long. It’s nontheless a very good book and gets its hooks in you from page one and doesn’t release them until you’re done…just as a good book should. All I wish for now is that we’ll get to see more of Bachman in the future…