This B-style horror novel, which spawned a sequel I own and plan to read soon, was read years ago when I was a teen. Having forgotten the plot completely but recognizing the cover instantly when passing it by in a used bookstore, I'm sad to say it hasn't aged well. The plot is a cheesy dish, serving up atrocious dialogue at times, too many characters to keep track of, bizarre government goals against the Russians, and of course a strange war with Satan.
The back cover blurb doesn't do the plot justice, as they make the girl almost sound like a vampire staying around the towns residents. Instead her and her cat half, Pet, stay hidden once awakened, not just walking around confusing the common townsfolk. The opening of the story is especially bad, focusing on a silly sounding ritual that doesn't add up and seems to be aimed more toward shock effect.
Character wise, Dan as a main man was actually anjoyable, even if when he spoke to his son it became even cornier. I'm not sure why the dialogue I.Q. level dropped at least 10 points during these discussions, but no matter. His straight arrow conviction was almost cardboardish, but it was still a fun accompaniment to a B-story scenario. The villains were hokey and a bit over the top, but also creepy in a way. Gore is not served lightly, with plenty of violence and killing scenes. I wouldn't say anything happened that was too disturbing for the seasoned horror buff, but the book wouldn't please the light of heart.
Pace wise, it's swift, although because of the hustle and bustle in so many directions I sometimes have the urge to skim through several scenes. It's not a book that bores you, yet it doesn't compliment your mind in any way, demanding to be read. Johnstone writes in a talented manner, using mainly short and swift sentences. Some of his phrasing is adequately beautiful, meriting a pause and re-read of the line, while other times it seems forced and out of place. This slight inconsistency wasn't enough to bring the rating down or interrupt the flow, but with all the faults above it's not a book I would highly recommend. It did end with a dramatic bang that did justice to the story, even if the middle could have been tightened to deliver a better product. Still, if you're in the mood for campy fiction without a serious bite, this is the way to go.