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Blaze    by Richard Bachman order for
by Richard Bachman
Order:  USA  Can
Scribner, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

If you remember novels like Thinner, The Running Man, and The Regulators (and a couple of other titles by the same author) then you're already familiar with the late Richard Bachman; many remember Bachman principally because of his idiosyncratic and singular connection with a more famous American author - Stephen King (author of Carrie, The Stand, Cujo, The Green Mile, and dozens of other phenomenally successful books).

Now in Blaze, readers have the chance to read a (ostensibly) posthumous (and nearly permanently overlooked) work by Bachman (which is explained in an insightful introduction from King). In crisply flowing narrative with chapters alternating between past and present, the pseudonymous author of Blaze takes readers along on a thrilling adventure. Clay Blaisdell, Jr., at the urging of his good friend George Rackley, is about to undertake his most dangerous challenge: the kidnapping of a multimillionaire's infant son. Clay (a.k.a. Blaze) is not blessed with your typical criminal mind; in fact, the 6'7" man has struggled throughout his difficult life with the stigma of being perceived as profoundly slow. His success (or failure) in the kidnapping scheme, though, will depend on something more than Blaze's intellectual abilities. After all, his friend George (even though he died three months earlier) will have a lot to say about whether or not Blaze can pull off one of the greatest criminal capers in the history of Maine.

As something like 1/4 bildungsroman, 1/4 gothic horror tale, 1/4 crime novel, and 1/4 homage to John Steinbeck and others, Blaze is a classic Bachman (and King) novel. Profoundly moving at moments and powerfully entertaining throughout, Blaze is an absolute must-read addition to your summer reading list (and an essential supplement to your Richard Bachman (a.k.a. Stephen King) collection). Don't miss it!

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