It's weird. I think I may have read this book before, but now after finishing it this weekend, I have doubts. I maybe just watched the movie and that's where I was recalling most of my information from. I honestly don't like the Bachman books that much that Stephen King wrote. I recall "The Long Walk" and thought how it made no sense to me and how impossible it would be for teenagers to walk 4 miles an hour. I tried that one day at the gym and had to lightly jog. I also remember reading "The Running Man" and went, eh liked the movie better. So now with "Thinner" I have to say that neither the movie or book impressed me much. You have one man dealing with a curse that is slowly killing him. He blames his wife. A lot. Most of the book slows down in the last 1/3 and I was just bored until the ending.
"Thinner" deals with the after effects of Billy Halleck (Bill or William depending on who is speaking to him) running over and killing a Romani woman. FYI, be prepared for King to refer to them as Gypsies. I have learned since I got older that's a derogatory term for Romani people, so I am not using it here in my review besides the first occurrence. Due to the people he knows and a lot of the towns people hating the Romani people, Billy isn't tried for hit and run, instead the case is dismissed. An older man who is the head of the group of Romani people comes up to Bill and touches his cheek and says "thinner." From there Bill starts to lose weight and struggles to push out of his mind hitting and killing the older woman and the man who touched him.
Most of the book is Billy justifying what happened and saying how it's not really his fault. Instead it's mostly his wife and the older woman's fault. His wife's fault since she started trying to (makes hand motion) while he was driving and the older woman for not looking both ways. What made me laugh and sigh about though was Billy doesn't take any ownership of the fact that the judge and police officer who helped with things would not have done so if not for him. So you have all three of these men being punished, but it seems as if Billy is the one that got off the lightest.
King does take some time developing the characters. You understand Billy's relationship with his wife and daughter a lot. You also get a look at the secrets a town holds that get revealed when Billy starts going after answers with his doctor, the judge's wife, and the police man. Eventually the book goes sideways when King introduces a friend of Billy's who is going to take care of getting the curse off of him, Ginelli.
Ginelli is shown to be a bit off. He goes after the Romani people with a laser eyed focus. However, it made no sense to me. He's supposed to be a pretty big crime boss. So why in the world didn't he send forth some underlings? And if they popped up dead then go after them? I don't know. The motivations of him to go toe to toe with the Romani didn't work for me at all. Most of the book slowed down after he showed up and when he was retelling his story to Billy I just didn't care.
The writing is more crude than King's works. There are a lot of racial slurs used in this one that put me off a bit. The flow as I said earlier got really bad when Ginelli gets introduced. The book just drags it seems until we get to the ending.
The ending leaves us with Billy as a pale shadow of his former self. He manages to justify to himself what he is about to do and I really ended up loathing him. Of course this being a King book the joke's on him and he has a horrified realization about what his actions have wrought.