©1985 Stephen King; (P)2009 Penguin Audio
Writing as "Richard Bachman" King excells yet again with the story of William "Billy" Hallek in his 1984 novel "Thinner". Billy, an overweight lawyer from New England, has an unfortunate accident which results in the death of a women who is a member of a traveling band of gypsies. Small town corruption allows Billy to walk with but a slap on the wrist, however the patriarch of the gypsy clan, a seemingly ancient man, curses Billy with his own form of justice. Having read and enjoyed the novel very much, the story is enhanced with perfectly timed, yet not over used musical cues and sound effects. In the same token Joe Mantegna does a tremendous job giving life to the all the personage King has to offer in this lurid tale. (for fans of the film, in which Mantegna portrayed Billy's confidant, Richie "The Hammer" Ginelli, this is an especially nice treat!) If you are new to King's work, I say what better place to start, if you are like me and have read all the master of horror fiction has to offer, this recording is sure to entertain.
I've liked every novel I've read by King writing as Richard Bachman and this one is no exception. King fans are aware that his work has taken many turns throughout his career, and King has proven himself to be a writer of diverse interests and scope. However, I miss "the old" Stephen King at times. The Bachman novels are reminiscent of early King novels, I think, and I found this one to be enjoyable in that way. Mantegna's narration is very good as well.
This was one my favorites. I am an avid King fan, but lets face it, when someone else reads the book aloud, they often dictate the flow and character emphasis. Joe Mantegna fit the characters. His voice made the package complete. I recommend this book.
He's a great narrator, particularly effective in this story full of gypsies and mobsters.
As for those who have issues with King vs. Bachman, there's no doubt that he put his darker fodder out as under the pen name. King's novels always have something of "the coming of the white" about them, while under Bachman you just have to wait for the darkness you know isn't going to let up.
Another reviewer asked something along the lines of "how much can you say about weight loss?" and my reply is: Quite a lot, actually, especially since it's not really about the physical weight but about guilt, family ties, responsibility, and how far one is willing to go before they hit the wall.
I used to read a lot of Stephen King back in my college days in the '70's, and I forget how raw and depressing it was. I realize that he wrote this under his pen name, but it still seemed pretty much like the old King novels. This novel is a bit dated at this point, but I am glad I gave it a listen through a special promotion on Audible. I found the movie on my computer through Xfinity, so I will probably watch that. I may have seen it years ago--Joe Mantegna is in the film.
I didn't mind the ending of the book. It fit with the mood of the novel.
AUDIBLE MAKES READING POSSIBLE AND EASY FOR ME...I AM VISUALLY IMPAIRED. I WISH THEY HAD ALL THE BOOKS I WANT I WOULD SNAP THEM UP!
THE NARATOR WAS GREAT AND I LIKED THE STRANGE MUSIC BETWEEN CHAPTERS.
I LIKED THE OLD GYPSY MAN, LEMPKA. THO KING DIDN'T DELVE INTO HIS LIFE HE MANAGED TO PORTRAY THE INJUSTICE AND UNFAIRNESS THAT THE GYPSIES HAD TO ENDURE. I LIKED HIM BECAUSE HE WAS KIND OF SCARY YET HE WAS A MAN WHO REALLY JUST WANTED JUSTICE.
MANTEGNA DID A GREAT JOB PORTRAYING ALL OF THEM. AGAIN I PICK LEMPKA. I THINK HE DID A GREAT JOB WITH PORTRAAYING HIM.
HEIDI. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON IN HER HEAD.
I WISH I KNEW WHO DID THAT MUSIC BETWEEN CHAPTERS AND WHERE I COULD LISTEN TO MORE OF IT. IT WAS VERY EERIE.
A VERY GOOD STORY. I READ YEARS AGO. I LIKE THE AUDIOBOOK VERY MUCH AND WILL LISTEN TO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN.
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I have not read many Stephen King books, so I can’t compare his “King works” to his “Bachman works” like most other reviewers can!
I read 11/22/63 and LOVED it.
I read Under the Dome and HATED it.
That’s as far as my exposure goes.
I liked the plot of the story up until when Billy tries to track down the gypsies, then lost I interest and tuned out a bit. I felt like the plot just stalled and I was no longer curious to know what would happen next – I was just impatient to get to the end.
Say something about yourself!
Until listening to the wonderful 11-22-63, I had always steered clear of Stephen King because his early novels seemed too scary. Thinner is psychologically disturbing, but one of those stories that stays with you long past the end of the audible narration. It was especially strong because of the amazing narration by Joe Mantegna. Most of the characters were morally ambiguous, and even now, I am not sure if there was a true protagonist in the story. I doubt that this is one of King's best stories (it was originally published under a pseudonym) but the characters are all interesting, the plot takes many twists and turns, the setting is easily imagined, and the mob boss stands out as one of the most likable characters I have met in any book in a very long time. I am not sure if it would have been as enjoyable in print, but the narration sets this book apart. And if you think you want to wish a few pounds. . .? Well, just be careful what you wish for.
Probably not. Even though I enjoyed the narration I know I will not be entranced by the story.
The most interesting aspect was the way the gypsy culture was portrayed using the characters. The least interesting was the predictability of the story.
The scene that was my favorite had to be when the main character returned to the car his mob friend was waiting in after talking to the old gypsy. Any more detail would need a spoiler alert.
No, I did not have an extreme reaction to this book. As a younger person I would read books by Stephen King often. As an adult I find his writing shallow and occasionally offensive.
I was hoping to enjoy the book as I do enjoy the narrator in his TV roles. The first part of the reading I found so boring I nearly stopped listening all together. It wasn't until I got to the part where the main character leaves to chase the gypsies that the narrator was able to showcase his talent more by using different voices for the various characters. Then I was able to finish listening to the book and mostly enjoy it.
I would recommend this one to those familiar and unfamiliar with King (but interested). This novel is among his best. The reading by Joe Mantegna is spot on. I have listened to a number of his other readings and really liked them.
Billy, Ginelli, and the various gypsies. I can't just pick one. Heck, he played Ginelli in the movie adaptation!
I have listened to his readings of various Robin Cook novels. I am not sure which readings were done when, but his readings are consistently enjoyable and well done.
Maybe some of you have listened to Paul Sorvino's abridged reading of Thinner (around 1986). It was hard for me to decide which one I liked better, but this being the full novel maybe makes it better for that reason. Part of me wished Paul Sorvino could have done this version as well (nothing against Joe!) just nostalgia, I guess. If you can get your hands on the abridged version too you won't be disappointed.
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