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woensdag 23 februari 2011

Blaze by Richard Bachman

Back-to-basics

Clayton Blaisdell, Jr. is a mentally challenged con artist. His partner in crime, George, comes up with one final heist: they should kidnap a millionaire’s child and ask for a ransom that will be the ticket for a carefree retirement from their petty crimes. But George won’t take part in the kidnapping, because George is dead. Now Blaze has to fend for himself. He has no reason to quit his plans, because the inner voice of George is always there to reprimand him and push him further. But then Blaze starts to see the light. He is no slave anymore. He doesn’t have to listen anymore. And the plan turns sour...

Despite all the apologies Stephen King gives in the foreword of Blaze, this long lost novel written under the nom-de-plum of Richard Bachman, still delivers with virtue. True, it is not a classic tale of horror and suspense, but is certainly showcases the character driven inner narrative that King puts with so much craftsmanship in his most personal novels. It comes very close to The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Gerald’s Game and Dolores Claiborne in the sense that it also creates a feeling of complete isolation and keeps the reader hooked on a, be honest, rather uneventful story. A true proof of his talent, I would say.

The signs of it being one of King’s first novels are rather obvious, although King did update the story before publishing it in 2007. The simplicity and naiveté of the story only shows up in his earlier works, whereas his later novels are bulging under the massive amount of thoughts. It’s truly refreshing to read this kind of back-to-basics story. Why can’t he safe some more trees by publishing more books like these, instead of massive monsters like Under the Dome? Ah, probably because we’re all hooked, not?

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