Blaze by Stephen King

Clay Blaisdell called “Blaze” by his friends, a petty crook, con-man, sometimes speaker to ghosts, who stood up to bullies, who didn’t become a bully despite his size, didn’t want to hurt anyone. We don’t always get what we want.

From the back cover:

At 6'7″ and just under 300 pounds, Clay Blaisdell is one big mother, but his capers were just small-time until he met George Rackley. George introduced him to a hundred cons and one big idea: kidnapping the child of rich parents. The Gerards are filthy rich, and the last twig on the family tree could be worth millions. There's only one problem: by the time the deal goes down, the brains of the partnership is dead.

Or is he?

Now Blaze is running into the teeth of a howling storm and the cops are closing in. He's got a baby as a hostage, and the Crime of the Century just turned into a race against time in the white hell of the Maine woods.

Blaze by Stephen King

After reading Blaze, I’m tempted to write an obituary for Blaze. He did bad things. King covers those in his book. Some of the bad things happened because Blaze trusted his friends even if they were using him for their own gain. Others happened because bad things happened to Blaze and those things had ripple effects in his life. Things like abuse as a kid. Loss. Going to jail.

Blaze is a novel about a man and the forces that shaped him and led him to the kidnapping that takes the central thread of the novel. Blaze isn’t the sort of character that you root for–he’s the kind of guy that you can’t help but watch and see what happens. It’s slowing down to get a good look at the wreck as it is happening. You might feel a bit bad for the guy despite the things that he has done.

And Blaze does plenty. He possibly talks to the ghost of his dead friend George. He’s not sure on that point either.

Mostly though, this isn’t a supernatural novel. It’s got a simple kidnapping plot but it’s the complexity of Blaze as a character that carries the book forward. King does a great job of slowly revealing more of Blaze’s backstory right up to the end of the book.

It’s a short book. I enjoyed reading it. It feels whole and complete. I put it down feeling like I’d had an insight into the title character.

The next title in June is a novella collection by King titled Full Dark, No Stars. It’s another title I haven’t had the pleasure to read, so I’m looking forward to diving into that book.

If you’d like to join the 2019 Hail to the King reading challenge and get the PDF with the titles for each month, sign up at ryanwriter.link/kingchallenge-19 and you’ll also join my readers’ group Readinary, receive a free ebook copy of my novel Dark Matters, and get  news, updates, and special offers.