Blaze by Richard Bachman [Book]

Blaze by Richard BachmanOnce upon a time, a fellow named Richard Bachman wrote Blaze 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 this last gripping Bachman novel resurfaced after being hidden away for decades an unforgettable crime story tinged with sadness and suspense. Clayton Blaisdell, Jr., was always a small-time delinquent. None too bright either, thanks to the beatings he got as a kid. Then Blaze met George Rackley, a seasoned pro with a hundred cons and one big idea. The kidnapping should go off without a hitch, with George as the brains behind their dangerous scheme. But there’s only one problem: by the time the deal goes down, Blaze’s partner in crime is dead. Or is he? – GOODREADS.COM

I can’t tell you rightfully how long it has been since I read a book from Stephen King.  I can tell you that I spent a whole lot of time between the ages of 8-18 living in the worlds he created.  Whether it was digging into his books, or watching the many film adaptations, he was a huge inspiration to me.  I can remember watching Maximum Overdrive or The Shining with my Grandma in the late hours, loving the sensational amount of fear I was feeling.  I remember reading his short story Apt Pupil in my sophomore year of high school during Sustained Silent Reading time and becoming so damn entranced that I hadn’t noticed that the bell had rung, and I was going to miss my next class.  Funny how the god damn teacher didn’t say a word, but that’s probably a whole other story.

There is a reason Stephen King might very well be the most famous writer in modern American history.  He is a writer that anybody can get into, and almost everybody has.  He released work as feverishly as Woody Allen makes films, and he has a natural ability to be able to turn everything he sees into a story.  And he has been doing it for over 40 years.  One thing I could never understand, because I never really cared to Google it anyway, is why a man with the name Stephen King would use a pseudonym like Richard Bachman.  Your name has King in it!  King!  This should be wore like a god damned badge of honor, not as a hidden little secret from the world.  But no matter, a guy with such immense talent as this can call himself Archibald Big Nuts Johnson III and it will still create some amazing work.

The story behind Blaze is that it was written in the early 70’s by “Richard Bachman”, and found by Stephen King about 30 years later.  King updated and touched up the book a bit, and finally released this treasure to the world.  I have heard a lot of talk about Stephen King simply slinging out bullshit just because he knows it will sell if it has his name on it.  Sort of like Quentin Tarantino does on shitty kung fu movies, except King puts more effort into his work rather than just throwing money at the RZA and says Go!  And as I mentioned earlier, I haven’t read much of King since high school (holy shit that was a long time ago!) so I don’t really know what he is up to these days.  Blaze is obviously a 40 year old novel written in a very different time, only slightly reinvented.  And unlike to so many “never before seen” type of works we see being reinvented by wealthy writers lately, this is a fucking brilliant piece of literature.

Richard BachmanIn the books introduction, written by Stephen King, it is clearly stated that this was an early piece of work for him, and that it is highly influenced by John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.  This was a very wonderful revelation to come to know before reading the book.  This is because anybody who went to junior high school will instantly understand the reference, even if King had said nothing at all.  Blaze is obviously Lenny.  And hell, the George character in this book is incredibly similar to the George character in Of Mice and Men.  Instead of a “wabbit”, this book has an actual baby named Joe.  And the same sentiments towards this big Oaf become amazingly clear, and you find yourself rooting for the “bad guy”.  Yes, the similarities are obvious and clear.  Yet the story has an original freshness that is undeniable.  I think it is just a sort of American spirit that many of us have.  We want to root for the little guy (or the giant dope) and see them prosper, although we know in the end that many books are a reflection of the real world, and it probably isn’t going to work out in the end.  Yet we routinely show our inner support for a book’s antagonist even though we know we will only be let down.  And Blaze is a good one for this type of set up.  I was sure this silly fuck head was going to get away with it, right up until the very end.

I was honestly surprised at how much I got into this story.  There is nothing starkly complex about it, which I can appreciate.  Aside from our beloved Oaf hearing the voice of his recently deceased friend, there is no sense of science fiction in this work, which is how I have always preferred King’s work.  There really is nothing to take away from this book that we haven’t already taken from other stories.  I am not ashamed to say that I am cashing this book in as just another beautiful number to the already astonishingly impressive library of Stephen King.

Note: 2014 is the first year for book reviews at Trainwreck’d Society.  We will be making a valiant effort to read and review at least 100 books.  This is review #11.  Be sure to stay in touch and be on the lookout for further reviews throughout 2014.  Be sure to let us know if we are falling behind.  For a complete list of book reviews, click HERE.  Enjoy!

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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