About the Author:
Richard Bachman is a pen name of Stephen King. King angrily 'killed off' the pseudonym in 1985 after he was outed as the real Bachman, however he would later release other writings under the Richard Bachman persona, styling them as 'lost manuscripts'.
AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
3 out of 5
On a normal suburban street in Wentworth, Ohio, the driver of a brightly coloured van guns down a young boy and a dog. Events then rapidly spiral out of control as the residents of Poplar Street struggle to understand and survive the power of a psychic entity which has taken up residence within the mind of a young autistic boy.
King... sorry, Bachman... is an excellent writer and has a great talent for creating casts of interesting three dimensional characters who he then throws into some nightmare or other. That's very much the case here and we get to know the residents of the besieged street intimately throughout the course of the book, learning their fears, their motivations and their coping mechanisms. I think my favourite character was that of Audrey Wyler, a woman who is in a living nightmare as the carer of the sadistic entity dwelling inside her beloved nephew.
For me, however, there were just too many King-isms in this book to make it outstanding. There's the obligatory alcoholic, the writer protagonist and a child with strange powers. It's something of a surprise that Poplar Street isn't in Maine, frankly. To me this all felt like the author had taken a bunch of old ideas from his other works, jiggled them around a bit and presented them as a brand new composition. If you're one of King's so-called 'Constant Readers', then I'm sure this will pose no problem for you and you'll enjoy this book a great deal.
Personally, I felt it wasn't Stephen King's best work, which could be why it's under the name Richard Bachman.
3 out of 5