The Regulators, by Richard Bachman

the-regulators-by-richard-bachman coverGenre: Horror
Publisher: Penguin
Published: 1997
Reviewer Rating: three stars
Book Review by Ram Samudrala

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Is there anyone who doesn’t know that Richard Bachman is a pseudonym for Stephen King? No? I didn’t think so.

If there’s any book that proves that King needs a good editor, The Regulators is it. Written under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman, the book would’ve been a lot better had it been cut by half.

The story features King’s return to the supernatural. In this case, the evil force is a vampire named Tak that enters the body of a young autistic boy, Seth, while his family is on vacation driving through a mining town in Nevada. Suddenly people around Seth have their mortality threatened as figments of his imagination from TV shows he likes become real and wreak havoc on his surroundings. Seth’s parents are killed in a drive-by shooting and Seth is adopted by his grandparents in the little town of Wentworth, Ohio. King weaves a web of terror around the town’s inhabitants based on Tak’s possession of Seth and his desire to “remake” the town.

This is a typical King story in that at the beginning, there are a lot of inhabitants each with their own distinctive personalities. Slowly, they fall victim to the supernatural force until only a few characters we’ve come to really like remain. King obviously has not lost his touch at creating interesting characters and writing a cohesive story around them. What is irritating is his verbose descriptions of events and the background that is provided about Seth’s condition in a direct manner, even though it is quite apparent what is happening.

Assuming you don’t mind skipping a few pages when things get slow, The Regulators makes for a decent read.

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