I'm loving James Smythe's "re-reading Stephen King" series. His most recent entry is the Bachman novel, Thinner. Smythe subtitles the article, "The last time Richard Bachman and Stephen King were thought to be different writers, and King's signature is becoming ever clearer in its story." That is quite true.
Smythe's article can be found www.guardian.co.ukSmythe writes,
What made a book Bachman rather than King? Was erring closer to King's usual output here some deep-level subconscious version of self-sabotage? Of wanting to be found out? Of wanting to be able to claim these books as his own again?Smythe notes that King had previously done a nice job with unlikeable protagonists, including Carrie and Jack Torrance, but Smythe can't find anything redeemable about that Halleck --and that "makes reading the novel relatively tough."
Is it tough for the main character in a story to be truly rotten? I don't know. I'm watching House of Cards on netflix, and there's not much redeemable about the main character! Thinner is dark for other reasons. Smythe discusses the supernatural elements of Thinner as being more King than Bachman.
What breaks the book for me? Plotting. It doesn't work. Thinner twists and turns with plot twists that aren't always logical. More bluntly, Thinner feels forced to me. The ending in particular feels like an end that King wanted to get us to. Twilight Zoneish as it may be, it didn't feel natural to the flow of the story. King is forcing the plot, not letting the story itself take its natural turns.
That said, I might ask: What would a more plausible ending to Thinner be?