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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.
- 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?
- Gentle Giant - Blaze.
- 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.
- Man Child - 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".
- Unintentional Period Piece - Averted when King rewrote the original manuscript and removed all the dated references to make the novel of a more ambigious time period.
- Villain Protagonist - Well, he does kidnap a child.