My rating system is really no mystery. I judge a book on my enjoyment factor. I don't delay in writing my reviews after having finished a book because I want to give my honest reaction to the completed read the moment I'm done. Will you give SPECTRE, by Stephen Laws, five stars as well. Probably not, but I had a fucking blast with this book.
Let's list the things that come after our heroes and heroine in this novel, shall we?
Snakes capable of tearing a man apart, a murderous ventriloquist dummy, a television possessed by ectoplasm, a reanimated owl and bear that had presently been stuffed and stored in a museum, a Gorgon (yes, like fucking Medusa), living manikins (mannequins, for us Americans) and some weird vampire/zombie bastards that kill an entire nightclub full of people. Come to think of it... this book is like a ultra-violent episode of Doctor Who. Coolness!
Honestly, this book has no idea what it wanted to be. You have Greek mythology, ghosty-goos, shape-shifters, all sorts of junk. Overall, it is the epitome of 80s schlock horror. It's a B-movie with a summer blockbuster's budget. The killings and gore are over the top, the ending is full-on cheese, the bad guy monologues about the whys of his evil plan for six pages (I know some people dislike that, but I'm a fan, in a campy sense), the main character breaks his rib then the author forgets the guy broke his rib and never mentions it again, and one of the good guys gives a last-breath speech as he dies. This book is a pile of stupid, but it's also bloody brilliant. Did I mention that Stephen Laws is an English writer? Well, he is, and I love English horror.
In summation: If you're a fan of horror movies like THE GATE and WITCHBOARD and SUBSPECIES, this is the book for you. Your IQ might drop a few numerals, but you'll fun yourself dumber, and that's what life's all about. Also, I was able to read the entire thing in about five hours, so it must be good, right?