©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.
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.
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.
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.
I tend to read too fast and miss some of the little nuances in a book. So when I can (driving, flying, waiting at appointments, etc.) I like to listen to a book I've already read, often discovering I missed something important my first time through!
Joe Mantegna did a FANTASTIC job reading this story and the drama in his voice added a lot (as opposed to when I read the hardback). He invoked strong emotion in me that the voice in my head when I'm reading a hardback didn't bring forth.
However, the music that was played at the ending to a chapter was horrible! A lot of the time it started too soon and drowned out Joe's voice and I think it lasted too long. It was a weird screeching noise that I didn't like at all. It's because of that I've started checking out reviews before purchasing to make 100% sure there is no music in any of the books I'm considering. It was just awful.
How the main character grew and hardened over time.
I loved the ending but hated it at the same time.
The story is great. The only problem I had with this audio book was the music that was thrown in at different places. It got in the way of hearing some of the words. At some points, the music was of a pitch and relative volume that it hurt my ears. Maybe it isn't so bad if you don't have the volume turned up high but on the road, where I listen to it, the background/ road noise kind of demands that I turn it up to hear it. Overall, though, good things!
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