The Regulators

The Regulators

3.8 125
by Stephen King

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There's a place in Wentworth, Ohio, where summer is in full swing. It's called Poplar Street. Up until now it's been a nice place to live. The idling red van around the corner is about to change all that. Let the battle against evil begin.  See more details below


There's a place in Wentworth, Ohio, where summer is in full swing. It's called Poplar Street. Up until now it's been a nice place to live. The idling red van around the corner is about to change all that. Let the battle against evil begin.

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.

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Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.45(w) x 6.99(h) x 1.34(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Regulators 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 123 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely my favorite KING book so far. Its difficult to read the news clippings and stuff on the nook, but still. I would suggest going to buy the actual book.
Mirk More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, like I love almost all of Stephen Kings writing. I just got the B&N nook and love it to death, but this book was not made for the nook. Scattered through out are newspaper clippings and journal entries of one of the characters that are SO small they are almost impossible to read, even with a magnifying glass! It was SO frustrating!
Bachman More than 1 year ago
I am currently reading this book, about 3/4 of the way through. It is a great read, pure macabre, though. I will try to make this as little of a spoiler as possible. It is about a suburban neighborhood in the fictional town of Wentworth, Ohio. A typical afternoon, about a week after Independence Day; the Carver kids are bickering at the corner convenience store; Gary's firing up the backyard grill; the paperboy is making his rounds; a Frisbee is flying over the Reeds' lawn. The only thing that just doesn't seem to fit the almost perfect picture is the red van with the weird radar doohickey thing on the top, idling just up the hill. Soon it will begin to roll, and the killing will begin..... Don't miss the companion novel, Desperation.
Scott Fenlon More than 1 year ago
I preferred Desperation over the Regulators, but that aside this was still an enjoyable and fast paced read. There's a lot of action, but never felt any significant connection to the characters (which is something I can't say for any of the other SK books I've read up to now). The backstory is also cleverly tied in. On a side note, the ebook is riddled with typos. In some of Audrey's journals I wonder if they were purposely included seeing the situation she was in while she was writing them.
DeDeFlowers More than 1 year ago
This is a very engaging novel. Stephen King does a great job building up the story and characters. It's very original and thrilling. It's classic in the sense that it isn't all huge twists and turns. It's just a great thriller. Good old fashioned story telling by the horror master.
It's one if King's more gory novels. So if gore isn't your thing you might not want to read The Regulators.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is tied into Steven King's book Desperation. So if you liked Desperation, this book will keep the story alive. Instead of taking place in the middle of nowhere, The Regulators takes place in the middle of a nice normal suburb neighborhood. But things start to happen that are far from the norm. Watch as things go from odd to worse in this weird tale. I thought it was a great book, but hey, why don't you judge for yourself? :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a bad book, but I highly reccomend reading Desperation ( the companion book ) first. It' s not supposed to matter which order you read them in, but I personally feel you'll be left with a lot of questions if you choose this one first, I know I would be! The characters have different personalities which made me almost not want to read this one ( I get really deep into my reading!) So I waited a couple of weeks between books, I would recommend that as well! This is almost like an alternate plane from what happened in Desperation.....same people, only they live in Ohio, all on the same street. Johnny has a much different personality and the Carver's are all flip flopped around. There is not much of a detailed explaination for what Tak is or why this is happening, all that comes from the other book. That being said, I did enjoy it and do reccomend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good ideas, but the book could have been 100 pages shorter. It felt repetitive, like I just wanted to skip to the next section (while still knowing what was happening). Physically, the story mostly takes place in a pretty small place, so I felt kinda trapped mentally for the few days that I spent reading this. Like I said, interesting ideas but I felt they got beat to death over the course of the book, kinda predictable really. It seemed to start out with a lot more promise than it wound up with, like King was on a roll for 50 pages and then started getting bogged down in his own imagery. I didn't get clearly defined senses of about half of the characters, and it focused way too much on Audrey and Seth. Just not expansive enough for such a long book, which is something I normally like about King's stories. Instead, everyone is mostly packed together like sardines the whole time. Also it was unusually gory, and I didn't feel like this helped make the story more gripping; it actually made it more tedious. I'm planning on reading Desperation, the companion book, though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not one of his best but definitely worth it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First novel by Richard Bachman (Stephen King) that I read. Made me a solid fan.
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