In 1996, Stephen King published two novels simultaneously. Desperation and The Regulators, the latter being published under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman. Having seemingly put his alter ego to rest with the novel, The Dark Half, King resurrected Bachman in order to publish two novels that would coincide with each other.
The story begins in what would normally be a quiet American suburb in the town of Wentworth, Ohio. Of course, this is Stephen King we’re dealing with here and, as such, nothing is going to be either quiet or normal.
The Regulators begins with a bang. Literally. As the book opens up, we see the visage of a picture perfect American suburb. Neighbors mowing the lawn. Children carelessly playing on their respective lawns. This all changes quickly and without warning, at least for the characters involved, as an entity by the name of Tak, a psychic vampire who feeds on the minds of his prey, takes over the mind of an autistic boy named Seth.
Seth, in love with the images he has seen in the spaghetti westerns he has caught on TV, now has the ability, through Tak, to bring the characters of said westerns to life. However, unlike the fictional characters, the characters are controlled by Tak and leave a disturbing, all-consuming bloodbath in their wake.
Many literary critics panned The Regulators, yet there’s something to be said for this daring, irreverent work of fiction. Tying in with its companion novel, Desperation, the characters from the former are placed within a varied situation of their dilemma in Desperation. However, their actions this time around are different, adapting to the very different location of The Regulators.
Many of the works penned under the Bachman name have been extremely violent and The Regulators is no exception as it not only out does the former Bachman books, but contains more violence than all of them combined. The Regulators is a startling look into the darker side of American suburbia, turning it upside down and treating it with no respect, just as many readers expect from a master of horror such as Stephen King.
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