Blaze; A Novel

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  • Edition: Canada
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-01-22
  • Publisher: Pocket
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Once upon a time, a fellow named Richard Bachman wroteBlazeon an Olivetti typewriter, then turned the machine over to Stephen King, who used it to writeCarrie. Bachman died in 1985 ("cancer of the pseudonym"), but this last gripping Bachman novel resurfaced after being hidden away for decades -- an unforgettable crime story tinged with sadness and suspense.Clayton Blaisdell, Jr., was always a small-time delinquent. None too bright either, thanks to the beatings he got as a kid. Then Blaze met George Rackley, a seasoned pro with a hundred cons and one big idea. The kidnapping should go off without a hitch, with George as the brains behind their dangerous scheme. But there's only one problem: by the time the deal goes down, Blaze's partner in crime is dead. Or is he?Includes a previously uncollected story, "Memory" -- the riveting opening to Stephen King's new Scribner hardcover novel,Duma Key.


Chapter 1 George was somewhere in the dark. Blaze couldn't see him, but the voice came in loud and clear, rough and a little hoarse. George always sounded as if he had a cold. He'd had an accident when he was a kid. He never said what, but there was a dilly of a scar on his adam's apple."Not that one, you dummy, it's got bumper stickers all over it. Get a Chevy or a Ford. Dark blue or green. Two years old. No more, no less. Nobody remembers them. And no stickers."Blaze passed the little car with the bumper stickers and kept walking. The faint thump of the bass reached him even here, at the far end of the beer joint's parking lot. It was Saturday night and the place was crowded. The air was bitterly cold. He had hitched him a ride into town, but now he had been in the open air for forty minutes and his ears were numb. He had forgotten his hat. He always forgot something. He had started to take his hands out of his jacket pockets and put them over his ears, but George put the kibosh on that. George said his ears could freeze but not his hands. You didn't need your ears to hotwire a car. It was three above zero."There," George said. "On your right."Blaze looked and saw a Saab. With a sticker. It didn't look like the right kind of car at all."That's your left," George said. "Yourright, dummy. The hand you pick your nose with.""I'm sorry, George."Yes, he was being a dummy again. He could pick his nose with either hand, but he knew his right, the hand you write with. He thought of that hand and looked to that side. There was a dark green Ford there.Blaze walked over to the Ford, elaborately casual. He looked over his shoulder. The beer joint was a college bar called The Bag. That was a stupid name, a bag was what you called your balls. It was a walk-down. There was a band on Friday and Saturday nights. It would be crowded and warm inside, lots of little girls in short skirts dancing up a storm. It would be nice to go inside, just look around --"What areyousupposed to be doing?" George asked. "Walking on Commonwealth Ave? You couldn't fool my old blind granny. Just do it, huh?""Okay, I was just -- ""Yeah, I know what you was just. Keep your mind on your business.""Okay.""What are you, Blaze?"He hung his head, snorkled back snot. "I'm a dummy."George always said there was no shame in this, but it was a fact and you had to recognize it. You couldn't fool anybody into thinking you were smart. They looked at you and saw the truth: the lights were on but nobody was home. If you were a dummy, you had to just do your business and get out. And if you were caught, you owned up to everything except the guys who were with you, because they'd get everything else out of you in the end, anyway. George said dummies couldn't lie worth shit.Blaze took his hands out of his pockets and flexed them twice. The knuckles popped in the cold still air."You ready, big man?" George asked."Yes.""Then I'm going to get a beer. Take care of it."Blaze felt panic start. It came up his throat. "Hey, no, I ain't never done this before. I just watched you.""Well this time you're going to do more than watch.""But -- "He stopped. There was no sense going on, unless he wanted to shout. He could hear the hard crunch of packed snow as George headed toward the beer joint. Soon his footsteps were lost in the heartbeat of the bass."Jesus," Blaze said. "Oh Jesus Christ."And his fingers were getting cold. At this temperature they'd only be good for five minutes. Maybe less. He went around to the driver's side door, thinking the door would be locked. If the door was locked, this car was no good because he didn't have the Slim Jim, George had the Slim Jim. Only the door was unlocked. He opened the door, reached in, found the hood release, and pulled it. Then he went around front, fiddled for the second catch, found that one, and lifted the hood.There wa

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