Under the Radar – Thinner

There is probably no horror writer more synonymous with his genre than Stephen King. Carrie, It, and The Stand are only a few of dozens of works that helped him dominate the scene for decades. Alas, obscurity can strike even the giants among us. And with Thinner, it’s terribly undeserved.

Thinner was the last novel King wrote undetected under his Richard Bachman pseudonym. In many ways, his attempt to hide his style’s usual trappings is a very good thing. There is almost none of the self-confessed “elephantiasis” that often infects his work. The narrative is lean, offering just enough space to fully develop the characters and their bizarre predicament without sacrificing the pacing.

Admittedly, the plot does come off rather absurd in summation. A portly attorney accidentally strikes and kills a gypsy woman with his car. Using his connections to avoid the charges, he escapes justice only for the widower to place a curse on him causing rapid emaciation.

A story this borderline corny would’ve been so simple to mishandle, but King’s talent twists it into something bordering on the sublime. The protagonist, though unlikable, is very well developed, and the story’s tension really amps up to match his increasing desperation. Instead of coming across as a cheesy B-flick (like its movie adaptation), the novel has the quality of a weird little fever dream that sticks with you upon waking.

So, give this one a shot even if you’re more into King’s epic-length books. At only a little over 300 pages, you don’t have much to lose.


About prutigli

Patrick Rutigliano grew up on a steady diet of comic books and horror movies. Making his first sale to Permuted press in 2007, he has since placed stories with several publications in addition to his first collection, Black Corners of a Blood-Red Room. The Untimely Deaths of Daryl Handy is his first independent release. During his off time, Patrick can usually be found attempting to recreate foreign cuisine, sacrificing cardboard to his cats, and having spirited debates with his wife over the failings of Disney villains.
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