In keeping with my attempt to read all of Stephen King’s (well Richard Bachman’s) books Thinner is now my fourth. Misery is still number one so far but Thinner is a close second.
The book follows Billy Halleck, an extremely overweight, successful man who runs down an old gypsy woman when his wife gives him a hand job whilst driving. He’s cleared of the charges but an old gypsy man with a rotting nose gets a hold of him. “Thinner,” he whispers as he touches Halleck and thinner he becomes. Halleck starts losing weight but he doesn’t stop. Each morning he steps on his bathroom scales and his stomach flips when he realises, despite the 10,000 calories he ate the night before, he has lost another 5 pounds.
In an attempt to free himself for the gypsy’s curse, Halleck jumps in his car with the aim of tracking down the old man who touched him.
Thinner got started quite quickly. King didn’t beat around the bush when setting the scene for this novel. We learn almost immediately the context of the story and the details of the accident. We meet Halleck and his family, a guilty wife who smokes like a chimney to hide her guilt for her part in the gypsy woman’s death. I do think the pace slows a bit in the middle where Halleck is travelling around town after town in an attempt to find the old gypsy. This definitely could have been cut short for me however, King likes to set a scene and I cannot falter his use of description. The end picks up again which I think it should as it creates a lovely climax. I also like how it dies down and picks up again within the last chapter.
Halleck, for me, was a strangely loveable character. I really felt for him. I disliked his wife for her actions throughout the course of the book and fully agreed with Halleck’s plan for her at the end. I cheered him on as he laid his trap.
I also really liked the character of Ginelli, the infamous gang member. I like how King chose characters that would normally be disliked in society. Halleck is the overweight, well off business man and Ginelli is a criminal although really he has a good heart and is incredibly loyal.
I had my doubts about the plot of this book as I really didn’t see where it could go but King has really done it justice. I particularly enjoyed the last third of the story as it had the most action. The very end had me screaming for more as I really hadn’t seen it coming.
I would, again, highly recommend this book!