is an early novel written by Stephen King
that predates even Carrie
. Finding it to be overtly sentimental, King shelved it. He later rediscovered it in the attic and, with much revision, published it in 2007 under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman.
Clayton Blaisdell, Jr., also known as "Blaze", is a mentally challenged con artist. Under the guidance of the 'ghost' of his dead partner, kidnaps the infant son of a wealthy millionaire for ransom. The plan begins to crumble as Blaze begins to bond with the baby.
This work contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: When he was a child, Blaze's father threw him down the stairs three times for interrupting his television, giving him permanent brain damage in the process.
- Badass and Baby: Blaze and Joey.
- Benevolent Boss: During his teen years, Blaze worked for a man named Harry Bluenote, who hired troubled teens, paid them fair wages, and treated them well, even fighting public opinion to give them a good chance at life. He even offered to keep Blaze on, but died the next day.
- George was one too. While he made no bones about seeing Blaze as a tool, he treated him well regardless.
- Brains and Brawn: George and Blaze.
- Boarding School of Horrors: Blaze went to one.
- Dead Person Conversation/Spirit Advisor: Blaze is guided by his dead partner in crime, George.
- Downer Ending: You weren't expecting a happy ending with a Bachman novel, were you?
- Dumb Muscle: Blaze functions as this to George, before and after the latter's death.
- Gentle Giant: Blaze.
- In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: King actually wanted to avoid this and wanted to publish it under just Bachman's name. In the end, the hardcover has both names under equal size and the paperback has "Stephen King writing as..."
- In Medias Res: Throughout the novel there are flashbacks from Blaze's childhood all the way to his current situation.
- Lighter and Softer: By King's standards, especially when compared to the rest of the Bachman canon. It's a heartbreaking novel, but it's not as nihilistic as Rage or The Long Walk.
- Lima Syndrome: Blaze eventually falls in love with the baby and doesn't want to let it go.
- Manchild: Blaze.
- One Last Job: What Blaze is on.
- Stockholm Syndrome: A strange case. At the end, after Joey is returned to his parents, he begins to cry because it's the "wrong face".
- Stocking Mask: Blaze robs a grocery store but forgets to put the stocking on. Fortunately, he scares the salesclerk so much that he can't remember anything to identify him. Blaze later comes back to the same store, this time wearing the stocking, and even points it out to the clerk.
- Unintentional Period Piece: Averted when King rewrote the original manuscript and removed all the dated references to make the novel of a more ambiguous time period.
- Villain Protagonist: Well, he does kidnap a child.