It’s a mid summer afternoon in Wentworth, Ohio. Poplar Street is your stereotypical suburban block, populated by young families, older couples, and the occasional loner/hermit. The residents are enjoying the beautiful weather—playing Frisbee, walking to the corner store, washing cars—when mayhem strikes in the form of a red van idling at the street corner. Soon, their quiet street is shattered by wave after wave of inexplicable events. Only a small autistic boy named Seth Garin and his aunt, Audrey Wyler, truly understand what’s happening—but will they be able to save Poplar Street from the mysterious evil that has overtaken them?
According to Wikipedia, King released Desperation and The Regulators at the same time—Desperation under his own name and The Regulators under his pen name, Richard Bachman. Both novels have the same general undertone: possession by an evil spirit named Tak. Same characters, too, but in different situations and sometimes in different configurations (for example, in Desperation, the Carver family consists of parents Ralph and Ellen, with David and Kirsten as the children; in The Regulators, David and Kirsten are the parents, and Ralph and Ellen are the kids).
I think The Regulators was substantially more bloody (which seems to be par for the course with Bachman novels—I’ve always found them to be rather more dark than mainstream King novels). Not that Desperation wasn’t bloody, but—SPOILER ALERT—I’m pretty sure maaany more people die in The Regulators. The whole Tak thing was very differently explored as well, with a very different solution.
I enjoyed The Regulators, but I still liked Desperation better, I think. But that probably mostly comes down to my straight-up confusion at reading a completely different story about basically the same characters. I probably would have liked The Regulators better had I read it first, but I guess we’ll never know!
If you’ve read both, what did you think about each? Which did you like better? (And which did you read first?)
- Desperation – Stephen King (nothanksidratherread.wordpress.com)
- My Reading Life: Hearts in Atlantis (readmorebooks.wordpress.com)
- The Grand Stephen King Experiment: An Introduction (tannerwillbanks.wordpress.com)