***(out of four stars)
Billy Halleck has a problem. He's losing weight... and fast.
After accidentally running over a gypsy, Billy Halleck is cursed by the leader of the gypsies, Taduz Lemke. Billy was a lawyer and got off with a slap on the wrist, because he was good friends with the judge. Now, day by day and hour by hour, Billy is thinning down to almost nothing. He must find Taduz, and confront him, because if the curse isn't lifted he won't be around much longer.
I've gotta say that I read quite often and it's very hard to find a good book that keeps the pages turning. This one was one of those special novels that had me engrossed for the entire time. One on hand, you feel bad for Billy Halleck, who really didn't mean to hit that women. On the other, he almost deserves what's coming to him. It's a slow decent in horror as page by page Halleck is losing weight although he continues to eat heartily.
Halleck learns that others have been cursed. Namely the ones who helped him get off easy at the trial. One character literally turns into a lizard and the other one sort of melts away. Billy's weight problem tells me that he got off a bit easier than his pals. Soon after, his marriage begins to fail, friends turn their backs on him and the doctors all think he's a crazy lunatic. The only friend that stays by his side is Richard "The Hammer" Ginelli. Ginelli is a ruthless killer and vows to help assist Halleck in finding Taduz and the clan of gypsies.
I won't spoil the ending here. It is bleak. As it should be. Wrapping this story up in a nice bow would take away from the entire experience. If you're into King's work, this one should not go unnoticed.
Stephen King (as Richard Bachman)