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The Regulators Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 1997

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 498 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; 1 edition (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451191013
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451191014
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (321 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

An evil creature called Tak uses the imagination of an autistic boy to shift a residential street in small-town Ohio into a world so bizarre and brutal that only a child could think it up. It's as two-dimensional and gaudy as a kid's comic book, but for this reviewer, The Regulators is a gripping adventure tale about what happens when a mind fixated on TV (especially old Westerns and a cartoon called MotoKops 2200) runs amok. As Michael Collins writes in Necrofile, "[Stephen] King offers his readers a glimpse of the true evil of popular culture ... which has no design or intent, only an empty need to sustain itself. King is, I think, about the canniest observer of what America is, and that he generally writes horror ought to give us pause from time to time."

From Publishers Weekly

Why revive the Bachman byline more than a decade after Stephen King was found lurking behind it? Not for thematic reasons. This devilishly entertaining yarn of occult mayhem married to mordant social commentary is pure King and resembles little the four nonsupernatural (if science-fictional) pre-Thinner Bachmans. The theme is the horror of TV, played out through the terrors visited upon quiet Poplar Street in the postcard-perfect suburban town of Wentworth, Ohio, when a discorporeal psychic vampire settles inside an autistic boy obsessed with TV westerns and kiddie action shows and brings screen images to demented, lethal life. The long opening scene, in which characters and vehicles from the TV show Motokops 2200 (think Power Rangers) sweep down the street, spewing death by firearm, is a paragon of action-horror. The story rarely flags after that, evoking powerful tension and, at times, emotion. The premise owes a big unacknowledged debt to the classic Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life"; echoes of earlier Kings resound often as well?the psychic boy (The Shining), a writer-hero (Misery, The Dark Half), etc. But King makes hay in this story in which anything can happen, and does, including the warping of space-time and the savage deaths of much of his large cast. The narrative itself warps fantastically, from prose set in classic typeface to handwritten journals to drawings to typewritten playscript and so on. So why the Bachman byline? Probably for fear that yet another new King in 1996 in addition to six volumes of The Green Mile and Viking's forthcoming Desperation might glut the market. Maybe, maybe not. But one thing is certain: call him Bachman or call him King, the bard of Bangor is going to hit the charts hard and vast with this white-knuckler knockout. Main selection of the Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, Mystery Guild and Science Fiction Book Club.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

It isnt a must read, but it is a very good book!
Jon Oliver
It was hard to put it down once I started reading it, very good book I got Desperation which is a companion book to this one.
G. Webster
There are way too many characters to keep up with in this book.
Ramen Noodles

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on August 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Our resident master of horror, Stephen King, chalked up another first with the simultaneous 1996 publication of two huge grisly page turners, "Desperation", and under the pseudonym of "the late" Richard Bachman, "The Regulators."

A juxtaposition of the two covers reveals one picture - a menacing suburban landscape overlapping a western ghost town overrun with critters. But the two novels (almost 1200 pages of late nights and disturbing dreams) are each complete in themselves.

"Desperation" is set in a tiny Nevada mining town of the same name and "The Regulators" takes place on one block of an Ohio suburb. What the two novels share is their characters and the same elemental evil force, Tak, which has escaped from a deep mine shaft.

Although King has saved himself some work here - the characters have essentially the same personalities and backgrounds in both books - neither book provides a clue to anyone's fate in the other. The books are not sequential but alternate versions, alternate lives.

In "Desperation" the characters are assembled by Collie Entragian, an outsize cop whose initially strange mix of friendliness and menace is eerily chilling. Apparently at random, he stops passing motorists and carries them off to jail. Some, however, don't make it all the way to jail, and it gradually becomes clear that Entragian has murdered everyone in town. But something weird is happening to the cop, too. He is literally and gorily falling apart.

In "The Regulators" the characters are already assembled as neighbors on Poplar Street. Their glorious summer day is shattered by the arrival of a crayon red van and its armed driver.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 1, 1997
Format: Hardcover
I like Stephen King. And I'm the kind of fan who usually
enjoys even discards and potboilers. But I felt cheated.
This is the first King book where I didn't feel I got
value for my money. This
isn't just Homer nodding, this is floor sweepings.

All of King's faults stand out in this book. He never
convinces me for an instant that his isn't just making
this one up as he goes along. For example,
long about the end of the book, it finally occurs to King
that he has a problem: if Seth _does_ manage to evict the
evil alien presence that has possessed him, what's to stop
it from instantly invading one of the other score or so of
humans within its ever-increasing zone of power? King's
clever solution: he suddenly invents a law of his universe
that says that if the alien invades anyone else but Seth,
their heads explode.

It may seem odd to
complain of gratuitous violence and grossness in King;
it's always seemed to me that he has difficulty resolving
his plots tends to end his books with a meaningless burst
of ichor. But this book is _entirely_ like a King last
chapter. Didn't care about _any_ characters in it.

This book is _exactly_ like what people who have never
read Stephen King think Stephen King is like.
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50 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Thomas VINE VOICE on June 30, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read more than 75 novels each year and have read most of King's stuff. Obviously, with so much output from one writer, there are bound to be hits and misses. This one was a miss, in my opinion but there is still enough here to make it worth the read.
I had already read Desperation, the companion book to this volume, and came away with the feeling that I had just experienced a pretty good King novel. It also was far from his best but I enjoyed it none-the-less. So, naturally, I turned to this book, The Regulators, hoping for a similar experience. Stephen King is well known for marketing gimicry, pushing the envelope in the publishing business. At first it was through using brand names without permission. Then it was the alternate ego, Richard Bachman, followed by the serial novel (Green Mile) and now it is a "dual novel." Frankly, I don't think it worked this time. I just couldn't get the parallel between the two books/settings. Same names but different people and places. What was the point? Really, they are two seperate books.
In this novel, King definitely displays his famous talent for scene setting. The opening chapter is one of the best I've read, setting the stage for the coming horror. The plot was also pretty good, although the evil 'Tak' seemed somewhat ordinary. King uses a great mechanism to deliver the horror this time. The manifestation of the mind of a small autistic boy. The horrors come in the form of all of those things that frighten young children and, consequently, frighten us. The text is sprinkled throughout with other tidbits as well that help to tell the story: letters, postcards, diary entries, even a script. Another King tool to attack from all directions.
But somehow, it didn't all flow well together.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Susanna on October 21, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
'The Regulators' is not quite on the literary level of 'Desperation,' but that makes it more fun in a way, especially as it's less preachy. I liked that 'The Regulators' adds a little more information about the mysterious Tak. Here we see a more terribly playful, oddly fastidious, and possibly younger Tak who loves spaghetti, chocolate milk, westerns, and Cassie Stiles. And while most of the characters of 'The Regulators' are flatter than those of 'Desperation,' 'The Regulators' gives us a glimpse of what some inhabitants of Desperation might have been like before Tak possessed them, particularly Audrey and Collie who were never shown "pre-Tak" in 'Desperation.'
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