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3.71  ·  Rating details ·  160,183 ratings  ·  2,240 reviews
Billy Halleck, good husband and loving father, is both beneficiary and victim of the American good life: He has an expensive home, a nice family, and a rewarding career as a lawyer...but he is also fifty pounds overweight and edging into heart attack country.
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Signet (first published November 19th 1984)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Nov 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, book-to-film
“Some guys-- a lot of guys---don't believe what they are seeing, especially if it gets in the way of what they eat or drink or think or believe. Me, I don't believe in God. But if I saw him, I would. I wouldn't just go around saying 'Jesus, that was a great special effect.' The definition of an asshole is a guy who doesn't believe what he's seeing. And you can quote me.”
Richie “The Hammer” Ginelli

“Some guys-- a lot of guys---don't believe what they are seeing, especially if it gets in the way of what they eat or drink or think or believe. Me, I don't believe in God. But if I saw him, I would. I wouldn't just go around saying 'Jesus, that was a great special effect.' The definition of an asshole is a guy who doesn't believe what he's seeing. And you can quote me.”
Richie “The Hammer” Ginelli

 photo Thinner20Movie_zpsvr8ydode.jpg

William Halleck is a damn fine lawyer, a rising star in his firm, and well liked by judges and police officers. His life was coming together nicely and without too much extrapolation he could probably anticipate the continuing arc of his success. There was really only one thing that he was fighting against on a daily basis...his weight. The scales were not his friend. He was a stress eater, a man who would rather have two Big Macs peeking out of their wrappers than the goosepimple naked Coors Twins cooing his name.

He is 6’4” and weighs 251 pounds, which isn’t exactly fat if you are a professional football player bristling with heavy musculature, but if you are a white collar worker who doesn’t exercise and eats high calorie, high carb meals from breakfast until bed, the weight gain is going to settle right around your bread basket. I’m 6’4” and weigh 200-205. If I were to put on 50 pounds, I would be obese according to all the BMI charts. Given the fact that I’m retired from any form of athletics except shooting a few hoops in the driveway and going for walks, that 50 pounds would be the worst kind of weight gain, and I would be looking for new pants several sizes larger. Some reviewers/readers have questioned whether Halleck at 6’4” and 251 pounds was actually obese, which might say something about the current state of the American waistline. A nation floating down the river deNILE.

Halleck was a chubby checker, unable to see his feet when he was standing upright on a scale. Pissing was simply an act of faith because for Halleck to see willie perform, he would need to put mirrored tiles on his bathroom floor and walls.

Libido is usually the first to go when people become overweight. Their desires and lusts are exchanged for french fries, strawberry pie, and milkshakes, but Halleck didn’t have that problem. In fact, at the moment that his life was about to go off course, he was almost ready to cross off a bucket list item right up until the time he…

hit a woman with his car.

His wife, Heidi, out of the wild blue decides to be spontaneous. She’s not a prude, but she has never given any indication that she was uninhibited enough to go searching for Billy’s fishing tackle while he was steering a moving vehicle.

Now, he didn’t just hit any woman. Oh no, to completely screw up your life you have to hit a gypsy with a vengeful father. Taduz Lemke is a gypsy patriarch who might be anywhere between 106-120 years old. He knows things that the rest of the world has forgotten.

 photo Stephen_King_s_Thinner_zpspitkpfru.jpg
Robert John Burke stars in the 1996 film version.

When he touches Halleck’s cheek and whispers the word…thinner, William starts to lose weight at an alarming rate.

He has been cursed, not just cursed, but gypsy cursed.

“You were starting to sound a little like a Stephen King novel for a while there.”

Wait, what was that about Stephen King?

Back in the late 1970s and through the mid-1980s, Stephen King was writing more books than could be published. In those days publishers believed that an author could only publish one book a year successfully. King decided to create a pseudonym as Richard Bachman so he could publish more than just one book a year. He was also having doubts about his own success. Had he just gotten lucky? Could he produce a best selling book without Stephen King emblazoned on the cover? The Bachman books were doing ok, but they did a lot better after a bookseller named Steve Brown in Washington D.C. thought the style shown by Bachman was very similar to the writing style of Stephen King.

 photo RichardBachman_zpsug4hlvps.jpg
Meet Mr. Richard Bachman. The actual subject of the photo is Richard Manuel, the insurance agent of Kirby McCauley, who was King's literary agent.

The truth was out, and Thinner became a bestseller. Brown showed a lot of class. He went to the publisher first to show what he had discovered and asked what he should do. King called him and asked him if he would like to do an interview to tell the world how he made his discovery. For those interested, here is a link to Brown’s discussion of the discovery:

So the reference to himself that he put in Thinner was a tongue in cheek, knee slapping moment of poking fun at himself.

 photo Stephen20King20and20Tom20Holland_zpseo1wbutv.jpg
Stephen King and Tom Holland (director of the film) on the set. King had a cameo role as Dr. Banger.

Halleck is now losing two to three pounds a day, and that is with eating as much food as he can stuff into his stomach. He is desperately searching for the gypsy caravan so he can convince the prehistoric gypsy to take the curse off, but the flame of vengeance still burns in the heart and soul of Taduz Lemke.

He is going to need some convincing.

Halleck knows just the guy.

Richie “The Hammer” Ginelli, an Italian mobster whom Halleck helped defend in court, is a man with a code regarding helping friends in need. Out of all the people Halleck has tried to explain his situation to Ginelli is the only one who believes him.

Ginelli is a terrific character. He is certainly someone you will not forget. I thought that Stephen King, erhh Richard Bachman, put real flesh on the bones of all the characters. The plot is taut like a quarter bouncing off a nubile bottom and crackles like a corn crib on fire. In my opinion, one of the best Stephen King, erhhh Richard Bachman, books I’ve ever read.

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And I thought the Atkins Diet sounded unhealthy…

William Halleck is a successful lawyer living in upper middle class splendor in a Connecticut suburb with his wife and daughter, and his biggest problem is that he’s overweight. His perfect life is upset when he accidently ran over an old Gypsy woman when he was *ahem* distracted behind the wheel. Since Billy is one of the solid taxpayers who plays golf with all the right people the whole mess is quickly tidied up in court without him g
Paul O'Neill
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved it, it's every bit as good as I remembered and more. One of my favourites of all time and one of the best / creepiest audiobooks.

Highly, thoroughly and totally recommended.
Will M.
The premise really prompted me to read this novel. Aside from the fact that King wrote this, the premise really made me curious as to what the novel was all about. It was about a man who got cursed, and now he's losing weight everyday, and he fears that it will come to a point where he'll turn into nothing.

Everything was good, but nothing was great. That's the main problem of the novel for me. While the start of the novel was batshit amazing and fast paced, the middle and the end was
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddy-read, 2017
This was an addicting and enjoyable book to read!

It’s a great revenge novel and I enjoyed reading about how Billy Halleck goes from a big, fat man to something rather morbid.

Billy Halleck, an upscale attorney accidentally hits and kills an old gypsy woman in his car when she steps out from the sidewalk. Now is he guilty of vehicular manslaughter or not? Unfortunately for Billy, an old gypsy man believes he is and puts a curse on him. The old gypsy man touches his check and says "
Ahmad Sharabiani
Thinner, Stephen King
Thinner is a 1984 novel by Stephen King, published under his pseudonym Richard Bachman. It was the last novel King released under the Richard Bachman pseudonym. Billy Halleck, an arrogant and morbidly obese lawyer in Connecticut, has recently fought an agonizing court case in which he was charged with vehicular manslaughter. He cannot seem to lose weight or control his eating. While he had been driving across town, his wife Heidi distracted him by masturbating him, cau
Dan Schwent
Dec 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Overweight lawyer William Halleck strikes and kills a gypsy woman who is crossing the street. He is acquitted but a relative of the woman touches Halleck's cheek and curses him. Now he's losing three pounds a day with no end in sight. Can he track down the gypsy man and get him to remove the curse or will he waste away to nothing?

What's so scary about a fat guy losing weight? A lot, it turns out. Never has getting a tug job in the car from your wife gotten someone into so much troubl
Nov 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror

I’ve only read a few of Stephen Kings book but I have watched more in movies.

This is the first one as Richard Bachman.

And yes, I did enjoy it and would recommend for anyone who likes dark side/light horror.
I don’t like horror, this is more “jumpy” as you Imagine “stuff” that happens.

I’m rating this personally as a 3.5 due to I’ve read more psychological thrillers worse than this.
Great introduction to Bachman’s work though.

Funny ending.
The older Stephen King novels continue to amaze me......this one grabbed me from page one and did not let go! When grossly overweight attorney Billy Helleck unintentionally hits (view spoiler) an old gypsy woman who darts out into the street, (view spoiler) the incident is not properly investigated, and soon after, he, his buddy Judge Cory who presided plus friend ...more
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
There is a certain directness, a freight train coming down the tracks quality about Stephen King’s early Richard Bachman books that I very much enjoy. King writes an unrelenting cause and effect that is terrifying because it does not jump out and yell BOO! but rather walks quietly up to you with a mask on and a butcher knife, like John Carpenter’s Michael Myers, a slow-motion dream scape of fear.

Thinner shares these qualities with other of King / Bachman books like The Running Man and The Long Walk. From the openin
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Billy Halleck is living a good life. He's an up-and-coming lawyer, has a wife and a teenage daughter, and a nice home. He is also overweight, a fact which his doctor is always reminding him of. One day while driving, Billy accidently sideswipes an old gypsy woman who is crossing the street and kills her. Billy is cleared of any charges for this incident, as he is good friends with the police and the judge. There's also no love lost between law enforcement and the gypsies, since the police just w ...more
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I first saw the movie for this back in the 90s, long before I read this book. And if you've never seen the film, believe me when I say, it's bad. It’s AWESOMELY bad. Overacted, terribly-paced, full of dumb effects and the worst “fat suit” I’ve ever seen. But, for some reason, I can't help but love it. I’ll watch it over and over again on Netfilx like it was reruns of The Office. Maybe I just like terrible movies. I don’t know.

But, that said, I've never read this book. Never even thou
“The definition of an asshole is a guy who doesn't believe what he's seeing.”
― Richard Bachman, Thinner

Best Stephen King book ever! The only king book to make it into my all time favorite books list. I loved Genelli. More another time.
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Vessey by: Jeffrey
Shelves: dark, crime, 5-stars, horror
"They were brightly dressed, but not in the peasant garb an older person might have associated with the Hollywood version of Gypsies in the thirties and forties. There were women in colorful sundresses, women in calf-length clamdigger pants, younger women in Jordache or Calvin Klein jeans. They looked bright, alive, somehow dangerous."

I would have read this book sooner, had I known what a dish it would turn out to be. I’m not sure if there’s a pun intended. I think I would have appreciated it even
Glenn Sumi
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars rounded up to 4 for this lean (and in some ways, mean) thriller written under Stephen King's pulpy alias, Richard Bachman

After the epic Gone With The Wind, which took me a month and a half to read (I loved it), I wanted something light and relatively short to read next. Plus: Halloween was coming up! So I decided on this taut, tense thriller by Richard Bachman (a.k.a. Stephen King). It did the trick.

The premise is simple. Overweight, slightly smug East Coast lawyer Billy Halleck has accidenta
First Stephen King book of the year and I guarantee there will be more.

Full review (but kinda short):
Mar 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z2017, ebook, fiction
3.5 stars.

This was my first Stephen King novel. I thought that it was good enough but not like great or anything.

I had two main problems with it. The first problem was with the pacing of the novel. The first half was good but when I reached the halfway point, I was confused because I felt like the conclusion should have been coming. The story was slowly building up from page one and it was creepy, ominous and eerie but then a good 25% of the novel just dragged on and on. I just thought the roa
Edward Lorn
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had a tremendous amount of fun with this book this time around. I read it three times before, the last time being in 2015, and I have no idea what might have changed in my life to make me appreciate this book more nowadays, but I did. Appreciate it, that is.

Maybe because I had such low expectations going in this time? That's probably it, actually.

Video review:
J.K. Grice
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I really thought this was an interesting bit of a departure by King from a basic horror concept. More of a character study, complete with a gypsy curse and a man struggling not to lose his life and his sanity. THINNER is a great book!
Melissa Chung
Another Stephen King book read. I'm doing pretty good this year. I've spoken to a friend about how Richard Bachman books a.k.a. Stephen King books sound so different from his normal ones. There is a different voice associated with the Bachman books. King is a legend in my eyes and to be able to switch the sound of your own writing voice to coincide with your pen-name books is just remarkable.
I'm giving this book 3.5 stars. I don't really enjoy the Bachman books as much as I do King's books. The
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, own-read
Some guys-- a lot of guys---don't believe what they are seeing, especially if it gets in the way of what they eat or drink or think or believe. Me, I don't believe in God. But if I saw him, I would. I wouldn't just go around saying 'Jesus, that was a great special effect.' The definition of an asshole is a guy who doesn't believe what he's seeing. And you can quote me.

And I just did, Ginelli.


Phew... this has been a ride. I started reading Thinner back in April of 2017, and I finishe
Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, library-books

This was a first read for me and I have not seen the movie. I knew what it was about, though. Someone said this book was like a Lay's chip, hard to put down. She was right! I don't know what it was about this book but I read a ton in the last 2 days. The story is ok, enough to keep you hooked but not terribly suspenseful. I'd say most people know what the story is about before picking up the book. The dreams Billy has are pretty scary and what happens to his friends. the book rea
Bridgit Morgan
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been obsessed with Stephen King's work for about seven years, from the first moment I checked out "Carrie" from my high school's library. "Thinner" certainly did not disappoint! The stellar writing and the character's complexities brought me back to that feeling I got when I first picked up a King novel: the belief that, although the plot seems outrageously far-fetched, it still somehow feels real.
4/5 stars

“In many ways the world is nothing but a pile of shit. But it can also be very beautiful.”

Oh my god, I just flew through this book. It was just so fast-paced, gripping and entertaining, I really didn't want to put it down. As soon as I read the synopsis of this book I knew that it sounded like something I'd enjoy. It's a weird concept but when you really think about it, it's also terrifying. Basically, our main character has been cursed to lose weight...forever, with no end in sight. We watch as he wastes away tostars
Jes Reads
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Johann (jobis89)
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"In many ways the world is nothing but a pile of shit. But it can also be very beautiful."

A relatively quick read, this book! Quite a fun and original idea for a book. I was excited to see where King would go with it.

Thinner is a story about Billy Halleck who accidentally knocks down and kills a gypsy woman. Unfortunately, it gets much worse as he is left with a terrible curse set upon him by the deceased's father. A curse where he begins to lose a lot of weight and it sh
'Thinner,' the old Gypsy man with the rotting nose whispers to William Halleck as Halleck and his wife, Heidi, come out of the courthouse. Just that one word, sent on the wafting, cloying sweetness of his breath. 'Thinner.' And before Halleck can jerk away, the old Gypsy reaches out and caresses his cheek with one twisted finger. His lips spread open like a wound, showing a few tombstone stumps poking out of his gums. They are black and green. His tongue squirms between them and then slides out ...more
Ashley Daviau
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this may have just edged itself into my top ten King books. Yes I know it’s not TECHNICALLY a King but I like breaking the rules! Something about this story just got deep inside of me and settled down into my bones. Right from the beginning I was completely hooked and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to see what would happen next. Something about this story is just so damn unsettling, it gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it. And that ending just killed me and gave me s ...more
Bri | bribooks
Truth be told, I've not looked forward to writing this review. I find writing reviews for 3-star books almost tedious, and certainly not enjoyable. It's fun writing about books I love, and it's fun ripping to shreds books I hate. Books that warrant an average rating are just that — average. And I struggle with reviews of them. Never before has that been more true than in the case of Thinner, by Richard Bachman/Stephen King. That makes me a little sad, too — I've enjoyed writing every review in m ...more
This is really a 3.5 star read, just rounded up to 4.

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 an
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YA Buddy Readers'...: Thinner by Richard Bachman - Starting April 14, 2019 2 13 Apr 23, 2019 01:11PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Possible Wrong ISBN/Edition 7 28 Oct 10, 2018 05:18PM  
Stephen King 2019...: June's Reads and catch up's 16 24 Jul 20, 2018 01:01PM  
Horror Aficionados : Stephen King challenge #19 THINNER 160 142 Oct 25, 2017 10:09AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: # 22 Thinner 1 1 Jun 13, 2017 09:34AM  

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This is a Stephen King pseudonym.

At the beginning of Stephen King's career, the general view among publishers was that an author was limited to one book per year, since publishing more would be unacceptable to the public. King therefore wanted to write under another name, in order to increase his publication without over-saturating the market for the King "brand". He convinced his publishe
“Because if you don't have someone to run out of town once in a while, how are you going to know you yourself belong there?” 41 likes
“If you think someone is seriously on the prod for your ass, it keeps you awake.” 33 likes
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