Review: The Summoner by Layton Green

Title: The Summoner {Dominic Grey #1}

Author: Layton Green

Published: Dec 2010

Synopsis: A United States diplomat disappears in front of hundreds of onlookers while attending a religious ceremony in the bushveld of Zimbabwe.  Dominic Grey, Diplomatic Security special agent, product of a violent childhood and a worn passport, is assigned to investigate. Aiding the investigation is Professor Viktor Radek, religious phenomenologist and expert on cults, and Nya Mashumba, the local government liaison.  What Grey uncovers is a terrifying cult older than Western civilization, the harsh underbelly of a country in despair, a demagogic priest seemingly able to perform impossibilities, and the identity of the newest target.  Himself.  The first work in a globe-hopping series whose protagonists investigate the world’s most bizarre and dangerous cults, The Summoner is a stylish, haunting novel of mystery and suspense that will linger long after the last page is turned.

Status: Read from May 31 to June 01, 2011 — I own a copy

My Thoughts:

In this remarkable debut thriller by Layton Green, a security agent with the American Embassy in Zimbabwe, Dominic Grey is tasked to investigate the inexplicable disappearance of the retired head of Consular Affairs at a ceremony in the African bush. The political climate of Zimbabwe requires his discretion and a Zimbabwe liaison, Nya Mashumba and academic cult expert, Viktor Radek are assigned to shadow him. Their suspect is quickly identified, but he is not just a man, he is N’anga, a JuJu priest who wields power with superstition, terror and threats. Dominic must separate fact from faith if he hopes to stop him.

This is a tightly plotted and well paced novel which shows the author has firm command of his craft. The mystery is carefully thought out with interesting twists that not only involve who-dunnit, but how-dunnit which kept me intrigued. The N’anga’s abilities are shrouded in ambiguity and I thought Green made the most of this to maintain tension. I was particularly fascinated by the information about JuJu, which I wasn’t aware was distinct from Voudou. The author has obviously done his research and cares about details.
The political and social turmoil of Zimbabwe is an unique setting for The Summoner. Green comments on the decay and instability of the country but counters it with descriptions of stunning scenery and genuine affection for it’s people.
Dominic Grey is an appealing protagonist and he will be able to carry the series forward. We learn a little of his background, Grey is ex- military, ex-CIA with a healthy disdain for officious authority but a strong sense of justice. He is intelligent and physically capable yet also flawed enough to be realistic.
If Nya continues to be a part of the series I would like her character to be better developed, in this installment her job and her connection to the case has defined who she is.
Radek has the potential to be a fascinating character, though we really only get glimpses of him in this novel I am intrigued by the hints at his history and his academic expertise. The pairing of Dominic and Viktor in further books should prove effective.

The Summoner is an impressive read, the skilfully written thriller unexpectedly had me engrossed from the first few pages and I raced through it. Layton Green and the Dominic Grey series is one to watch.

Read an Excerpt

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Author Bio

In addition to writing, Layton attended law school in New Orleans and was a practicing attorney for the better part of a decade (even though he still resents having cut his hair for that first interview). He has also been an intern for the United Nations, an ESL teacher in Central America, a bartender in London, a seller of cheap knives on the streets of Brixton, a door to door phone book deliverer, and the list goes downhill from there. He has traveled to more than fifty countries, lived in a number of them, and has a burning desire to see every country, city, beach, moor, castle, cemetery, twisted street and far flung dot on the map. Religion and cults, as well as all things spiritual and supernatural, have also been a lifelong interest. Combine the travel and the religion with fifteen years of Japanese Jujitsu training, and the Dominic Grey series was born.

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Available to Purchase

@ Amazon {Kindle and Print}

@ Nook

also available at Smashwords, Sony and Apple

CymLowell

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. blodeuedd
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 21:27:26

    My guest reviewer read and liked this one 🙂 And I trust her judgment

    Like

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  2. TC Booked Up
    Jun 04, 2011 @ 05:55:03

    Great review, and I agree this is definitely a series to watch.

    Like

    Reply

  3. Julie @ Knitting and Sundries
    Jun 04, 2011 @ 08:06:54

    This is really a good book; I haven’t written my review yet, but it will be smashing! 🙂 .. and we know there’s more coming, so there’s something to look forward to!

    Like

    Reply

  4. Trackback: Review: The Egyptian (Dominic Grey, #2) by Layton Green « Fullmoonbites
  5. G_E
    Sep 06, 2011 @ 05:07:15

    Good book and review. My few cents… If you like books like this, you might also enjoy “Miss Garrote”.

    Like

    Reply

  6. Trackback: Review: The Diabolist by Layton Green | book'd out

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