Monday, July 21, 2008
I have been a fan of Stephen King for a very long time, including his works written under the name Richard Bachman. Bachman seems to be King's way of getting really vicious and dirty, his Dark Half, if you will. Blaze is not a horror novel, but a crime drama. In the introduction, King talks of how he wanted it to have the feel of the old hard core crime stories, I think he did well at maintaining the fast pace of that genre. This work is closer to Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption (aka Shawshank Repdemption) than his more famous horror works.
Our main character is a giant of a man called Blaze by everyone he knows. His real name is Clayton Blaisdell, Jr. He begins life as a very intelligent young man, but soon ends up brain damaged and in an orphanage thanks to his abusive, alcoholic father. He grows up to be a small time thug and con man. His best friend, and the mastermind of his career in crime, is George Rackley. George is three months dead at the beginning of our story. Blaze is struggling to accept the loss of a friend and cope with continuing to function with him. He decides to continue a caper they had planned before George's death. George "talks" to Blaze and gives him advice during the course of the tale. I found Blaze to be a very sympathetic character. The book moved very quickly and kept me reading to the end (though that is probably an obvious statement when taken literally.)
In addition to the main tale, you get the short story "Memory". This is a tale that Duma Key is based on. After reading the short story, I look forward to reading the novel.
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