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Book Reviews

Milt Gross Book Review: "Blaze" by Stephen King and his pen name, Richard Bachman
By Milton M. Gross
Oct 11, 2015 - 3:25:16 AM

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Blaze by Stephen Kings's pen name, Richard Bachman, followed by Memory by King are both typical King tales, a long slow lead up to the action at the end. I had never heard of King's pen name until I read this book. Milt Gross photo.
Years ago I fell asleep late at night while reading Carrie. When I awoke, I went down into the basement to check it out before going to bed. Residual fear was what I felt when I looked out the basement door at a light moving back and forth on the garden fence. That moving light so late at night, reflected from the indoor cellar light, let me know I had been reading a horror tale, one by Stephen King.

This book, Blaze, was typical Stephen King -- horribly typical.

But I learned a lot about Stephen King and his pen name, Richard Bachman, "King dedicated Bachman's early books -- Rage (1977), The Long Walk(1979), Roadwalk (1981), and The Running Man (1982) -- to people close to him. The link between King and his shadow writer was exposed after a Washington, D.C. bookstore clerk, Steve Brown, noted similarities between the writing styles of King and Bachman. Brown located publisher's records at the Library of Congress which included a document naming King as the author of one of Bachman's novels. Brown wrote to King's publishers with a copy of the documents he had uncovered, and asked them what to do. Two weeks later, King telephoned Brown personally and suggested he write an article about how he discovered the truth, allowing himself to be interviewed. At the time of the announcement in 1985, King was working on Misery, which he had planned to release as a Bachman book," from Wikepedia.

I think King's response to this bookstore clerk was more than graceful, the act of a gentleman despite his horror stories.

Wikepedia states that over the years, King used several pen names for several reasons, one being that an author was only expected to write one novel a year.

I won't go into details about either story in the book except to say that both were typical King tales, moving from everyday details to a really frightening situation.

What I will say is that if you haven't read Blaze and you like weird frightening tales, grab this one, sitdown in a dimly lit corner, and go for it. If you're not scared almost to death, it's not my fault, nor King's.

The price is $25 on book jacket. Published by Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York in 2007. lists this book for $2.93, so your reason for not buying it will not be the price.

You can't borrow my copy because it's lost somewhere in my horrible collection of books. I'm not brave enough to look for it.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2015

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