“Put money in briefcase. Be ready to go on a moments notise. Sincirely yours,
The kidnappers of Joe Gerard 4.”
Clayton Blaisdell, a.k.a. ‘Blaze’, is a huge man with a slow mind whose partner-in-crime has just died when the story begins, leaving him alone to carry out their final caper – the kidnapping of a baby. This simple story, engrossing but void of any significant surprises, is intertwined with what proves to be more or less Blaze’s entire life story. And a hard life it is, though not without moments of joy. It’s a simple but touching page-turner with both humour and some down-to-earth horror – mostly in the form of cold-hearted people – and perhaps just a touch of the supernatural. Along the way, a handful of ‘short cons’ performed by Blaze and the late George are presented.
Though not making any secret of the actual author, King dusted off his old pseudonym when finally publishing the story, since it was written around the time of most the ‘original’ Richard Bachman stories. In his foreword King rightly notes that ‘Blaze’ has more than a touch of “Of Mice and Men” in it. Add to that the main character’s fondness for Charles Dickens’s “Oliver Twist” and, of course, King’s own style and unfiltered dialogue and you may get an idea of what’s in store. King also reveals that he, when finally revisiting and rewriting this decades old tale, changed his harsh opinion about it. And yes, it was worth publishing, and it’s worth reading. It is, above all, a fast read – the kind of book you pick up on vacation and put down finished a day or two later – it was in my case, at least.