The Regulators was something of a rarity for me. Dreamcatcher aside, I’ve not often read a Stephen King book that I didn’t really enjoy. As I’ve been mostly reading in chronological order, I’m well aware that his best is now probably behind me, but I do hope that the rest to come is still better than this.
Written under the name of his alter ego, Richard Bachman, The Regulators is a companion piece to Desperation, a decent read in which an entity named Tak was roused from its slumber beneath a mining operation and lay waste to the titular town and battle the handful of people unlucky enough to have been in its vicinity. The Regulators sees Tak take up residence in a young, autistic boy in a sleepy summer suburb that’s inhabited by the characters of Desperation (albeit in different bodies and circumstances), and apparently under siege by the boy’s favourite screen characters – the stars of an old Western called The Regulators, and the characters of a kids cartoon called MotoKops.
Aside from the fantastically ferocious opening, I really struggled to keep my attention on The Regulators, finding myself distracted by pretty much anything else by the end of each paragraph and frequently putting it down for days at a time. The thing that usually sucks me into any King book – the characters – fell flat for me this time around, and I found myself struggling to care about their fates. And while a fine idea – figures from a young boy’s imagination being used to terrorise the neighbourhood – I found that I couldn’t really take it seriously enough for it to be effective. I’m used to King’s endings not quite being able to live up to his beginnings, but The Regulators beat that by the opening being the only part really worth reading.
A very disappointing outing, I wouldn’t bother with this unless you’re looking to complete the set.