Pseudonyms are nothing new. Way back when before Stephen King's writing career had taken off he also wrote as Richard Bachman. One of the books he wrote back then (1972-3 per the introduction) was Blaze which mashes together Of Mice and Men and Ransom of Red Chief into a modern day kidnapping tale with a supernatural twist.
Clayton Blaisdell, Jr., (aka "Blaze") the stand-in for Lennie Small kidnaps the six month old son of a local millionaire. He does it with the help of his much smarter friend, George Thomas Rackley. There's just one problem: George is dead but that doesn't stop him from bossing Blaze around.
Blaze flip flips between the present and the past. The present focuses on the plan and execution of the kidnapping and the aftermath of it. The past starts with Blaze's childhood and works its way forward to the point where George dies. These glimpses into Clayton's past help make him a more sympathetic character in the present even if what he does puts the infant in danger.
For the most part, Blaze manages to be a present day or "America, Not All That Long Ago" novel as King puts it (p. 6). There are a few exceptions to this timelessness. The baby formula descriptions are the first big giveaway that the story was first written when I was an infant. Then there is the lack of modern technology: no cell phones, no computers, no ATMs and an abundance of pay phones. While King makes it sound like a bad thing that the book might still have evidence of having been written in the early 1970s, it doesn't bother me at all. If anything, it made the story feel more real to me.
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books | horror | Stephen King | 2007