The Regulators

The Regulators

4.2 16
by Richard Bachman, Stephen King, Charles O. Verrill

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Bachman is Stephen King without a conscience. This is the harrowing story of a suburban neighborhood in the grip of surreal terror. On a summer afternoon on Poplar St. everything is normal, except for the red van idling just up the hill. Soon it will begin to roll, & the killing will begin. A quiet slice of American suburbia is about to turn to toast. By nightfall,


Bachman is Stephen King without a conscience. This is the harrowing story of a suburban neighborhood in the grip of surreal terror. On a summer afternoon on Poplar St. everything is normal, except for the red van idling just up the hill. Soon it will begin to roll, & the killing will begin. A quiet slice of American suburbia is about to turn to toast. By nightfall, the surviving residents will find themselves in another world, one where anything, no matter how terrible, is possible . . . and where the regulators are on their way. How far they will go, & how they can be stopped — these are the desperate questions. The answers are absolutely terrifying.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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.
Library Journal
Stephen King dusts off his nom de plume for this tale of the supernatural.
Ray Olson
It is a summer afternoon on Poplar Street in Wentworth, Ohio, and the 14-year-old who delivers the local shopper is biking his route. A weird-looking red van waits, motor running, at one end of the block. When the vehicle coasts down the street, the "fun" begins. Its windows roll down to let shotgun barrels protrude. The boy is blasted off his bike, the first of many victims of a wave of assaults by a strange company of cartoonish, futuristic shock troopers and western-movie cowboys. What's more, telephones, electricity, and wristwatches are dead all up and down the block; nobody from the next street over in either direction seems to notice the gunfire and burning buildings; and when some of the besieged neighbors try to get to an adjacent street, they discover their surroundings transformed from suburbia to a western desert landscape resembling a child's drawing. What in hell is going on? Actually, as the "documentary" interstices between chapters gradually illuminate, something from close to hell, if you identify hell with the earth's molten interior, is what's going on in this variation upon the old Twilight Zone episode in which a little boy with psychokinetic powers terrorizes his family. Stephen King revives his alter ego Bachman, who "died" in 1985, for a rip-roaringly violent thriller whose main action takes place in little more than an hour and a half. Whew!
Kirkus Reviews
King says that The Regulators and Desperation (see below) are companion volumes, like Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. And The Regulators, set on one suburban block in Wentworth, Ohio, employs many characters from its mirror novel, set in Desperation, Nevada—but often in far different roles: Bad cop becomes good cop, and Peter Jackson, shot to death early on in Desperation, reappears here only to die as a zombie impaled on cactus spikes. A shining Bachman/King (The Running Man, 1985) gimmick acts as armature for this horror fantasy. When his parents and brother and sister are murdered in a drive-by shooting, Seth Garon, an autistic six-year-old (his mirror character in Desperation is vastly verbal), is adopted by his aunt, Audrey Wyler, and her husband Bill, and taken to live on Poplar Street. Not only autistic, Seth has also been invaded by Tak, an evil entity once buried in a silver mine, who emerges and brings to Poplar Street futuristic vehicles based on images from a Saturday morning animated cartoon, MotoKOPS 2200, as well as characters drawn from reruns of Bonanza's Cartwright saga, and from a 1958 B-movie Western, The Regulators. Poplar Street turns into a killing field as nasty MotoKops blast away at houses and their terrified inhabitants and strange wild beasts with bodies as outlandish as a child's drawings haunt the block. Can Audrey and Seth, helped by aging novelist John Marinville, take on Tak and save Poplar Street from the Saturday morning TV grislies?

Television takes a beating as Bachman gooses his cast with forced vulgarity and dumb jokes, and a lovely whimsy clanks off like a 12-ton robo-toy. Read Desperation first and The Regulators may come off in the spirit Bachman/King intends.

Product Details

Perfection Learning
Publication date:

Meet the Author

Brief Biography

Bangor, Maine
Date of Birth:
September 21, 1947
Place of Birth:
Portland, Maine
B.S., University of Maine at Orono, 1970

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Regulators 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Stephen King has done it again with this volume, which is a partner to Desperation. Well worth the time to read it.
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brjunkie More than 1 year ago
This book makes reference to The Dark Tower series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Im mad! this book was so good, i lost my life because of how rapped up i am in the story. I felt like i knew or was the charecters. The wife, who was bad made me mad cause i felt sorry for her husband. This is a book you cant afford to miss. No matter what name Stephen King writes under, you can tell when a masterpiece is in the making.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book not knowing about Desperation (which I found out about after I read it) and absolutly loved it. I was so wrapped up in the book it was like I was actually in it. I was not wanting to put it down, I wanted to spend all of my time reading it. It was a big book but that didnt matter to me I was interested in the story the whole way through. If you are thinking about this book, definately pick it up. You wont be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A must read for anyone who loves horror. This novel will keep you awake at night.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a very good book with thrills and chills just like all of S.K's other books but this books climax was not as surprising as his others and i didnt like the ending it was too short, there was one thing i liked about this book, it shows lots of letters from people, i like how they explain the plot Through the letters, I have started to read Desperation now, i just hope that it is better
Guest More than 1 year ago
King, writing as Bachman, knows what he's writing about in this novel. King is the master.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The set-up of the story is very good, painting a vivid picture of the Ohio neighborhood. If and when you figure out the ending, the story gets a little slow but picks up in the last chapter. You must read the entire thing to understand. No skipping to the end!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Audrey is a great charactor as she tries to escape her fears while others in the story are trying to escape the fire of guns you'll feel sorry for them all when you finish this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Steven Kings book is very cool. In it is a little street where every body knows everybody. Its a peaceful little town but the red van at the corner is going to change all of it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was just great, if you're into idiotic, pointless babble. King used to produce real horror stories, not just some violent blither with no central plot. This book had absolutely no story, character development, or any really good scares.