THE REGULATORS by Richard Bachman


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 Bachman/Stephen King in overdrive, fast as he can type and laughing with bloodglee. 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. (First printing of 1,250,000; $2,000,000 ad/promo for The Regulators and Desperation combined; Literary Guild main, Mystery Guild, and Science Fiction Book Club selections; author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 1996
ISBN: 0-525-94190-8
Page count: 480pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1996