Richard Bachman is really Stephen King
, and The Regulators
is a kind of companion novel to Desperation
, which was published simultaneously. These books mark the return of the Stephen King of old; the Stephen King of The Stand
and Pet Sematary
, where good and evil were at war and blood and gore flowed through the pages. The companion novels center around a new personification of evil that goes by the name of Tak, unearthed by an evil mining company that's destroying the earth in the name of profit. In each, the characters and situations are altered as King plays with questions of identity and form. But the real point here is what's on Tak's mind? Does it want to "Eat pork rinds? . . . Screw some NFL cheerleaders? . . . Rule the earth?"
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.