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The Regulators by [King, Stephen]
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Length: 452 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2428 KB
  • Print Length: 452 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; 1 edition (September 1, 1997)
  • Publication Date: September 1, 1997
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001QWDRN8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #404,504 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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First off, Desperation and The Regulators are not the same story. Yes certain characters are used, (some in name only) but that's all apart of the pun involved. The Regulators is supposedly the discovered manuscript of Richard Bachman, about an evil entity named Tak, who telepathically terrorizes a small suburban Ohio town through the use of a child's television heroes. Desperation, on the other hand, is about a mistakenly discovered tommyknocker, (not to be confused with the SK novel by the same name) who can manipulate and posses other living beings in the fictitious town of Desperation, NV. (Tak is also the antagonist in this prose.)
Without rehashing the synopsis of either book, this Stephen King fan enjoyed Desperation to a higher degree than The Regulators. In my opinion, the latter seems more of an extended short story and at no time did I find myself even remotely attached to any character presented in the material. Desperation however, was a more enjoyable read with a deeper plot line and thoroughly developed characters. If you happen to read The Regulators before Desperation don't fret. Neither book is in any kind of sequential order. Read one and think of the other as some sort of parallel universe.
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