Blaze: A Novel
Richard Bachman, Stephen King
The last of the Richard Bachman novels, recently recovered and published for the first time. Stephen King's "dark half" may have saved the best for last.
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 ("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. -- 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."
stood an old scarred chopping block with an ax buried in it. You want to get choppin, Hubert Bowie said again. Oh, Blaze said. It was the first word he had said to either of them. The Bowies watched him go over to the chopping block and free the ax. He looked at it, then stood it in the dust beside the block. Dogs ran and yapped ceaselessly. The smallest Collies were the shrillest. Well? Bowie asked. Sir, I aint never chopped wood. Bowie dropped the zipper bag in the dust. He
jacket when she was with the dogs, and it was covered with tawny hair. The Bowies sold very few grown animals, but the pups fetched two hundred dollars each in the spring. Mrs. Bowie exhorted Blaze on the importance of feeding the dogs well - of feeding them what she called a good mix. Yet she never fed them, and what Blaze put in their troughs was discount chow from a feed-store in Falmouth. This feed was called Dogs Worth. Hubert Bowie sometimes called it Cheap-Chow and sometimes Dog Farts.
into the hall, realizing he was doing more than just leaving the kids room, the nursery. He was crossing a line. He could no longer claim to be a simple burglar. His crime was in his arms. Going down the ladder with a sleeping infant was impossible, and Blaze did not even consider it. He went to the stairs. The hallway was carpeted, but the stairs werent. His first footfall on the first polished wood riser was loud, obvious, and unmuffled. He paused, listening, drawn straight to attention in
drifting from amazement to lust to disgust. Blaze couldnt remember the Italian-looking kids real name, only that everyone had called him Toe-Jam. Blaze turned right at the fork a mile up and onto a pitted tertiary road that had been carelessly (and narrowly) plowed, then allowed to drift back in. A quarter of a mile up, beyond a curve the boys had called Sweet Baby Turn (Blaze had known why in the long-ago, but it escaped him now), he came to a chain hung across the road. Blaze got out, went
Holloway didnt come into the little room until the others had been going at him for at least an hour and a half. Blaze had his sleeves rolled up and the bottom of his shirt had come untucked. He was covered with sweat and needed to go Number Two Bathroom, bad. It was like being in the Bowies dogpen again, with the Collies snapping all around him. Holloway was cool and natty in a blue pinstriped suit. He had on black shoes with galaxies of tiny holes in the fronts. Blaze never forgot the holes