Richard Bachman is of course Stephen King’s alter ego and The Rage was the first of King’s book under his pseudonym; from way back in 1977 as it happens. Knowing that Stephen King is one of my favourite authors I was given a collection of Bachman short stories by a friend, who according to the pencilled price on the inside cover cost her 40p! (I have some devoted friends).
The Rage sort of held my attention although I wouldn’t describe it as a page turner. A young Maine schoolboy has a tough upbringing from a drunken father; there are stories of physical abuse for both him and his mother. As a twelve year old Charlie attacks one of the teachers with a wrench and wounds him quite badly. The authorities eventually relent and allow him back in school; turns out to be a mistake!
A few years later as an adolescent Charlie takes his father’s gun to school, shoots two teachers dead and holds the class to ransom. In the few hours they are there the real characters of Charlie’s schoolmates start to emerge. There is definitely a hint of Lord Of The Flies about this part of the story and it becomes quite engaging.
There is no surprise ending, it events take their predictable course. No mistaking the King story telling even in those early years.
I shall save the other three short stories for later, I’ve got a date with Harper Lee.