Article first published as Book Review: The Summoner by Layton Green on Blogcritics.
In The Summoner, Layton Green’s character Dominic works with Nya Mashumba, a liaison to the ambassador, and Victor Radek. Nya, a tall attractive young woman, seems quite capable, but Victor Radek is the real surprise. At almost seven feet tall, he is almost a giant. His demeanor showed that he was used to being taken seriously. What brought them together was the disappearance of William Addison, a close personal friend of the ambassador. His girlfriend reported him missing, but the disturbing and almost unbelievable part was that he disappeared at a traditional Yoruba ceremony. The young woman was quite hysterical insisting he disappeared, while in a circle in the middle of the ceremony, in full view of everyone attending. He was in the circle, a sort of fog appeared, she heard screaming, and when the fog cleared he was gone.
Grey is skeptical, Nya is introspective, having a secret of her own for agreeing to the investigation, and Radek is enthralled, his background deals with religious phenomena and how perception is often the precursor to many different alleged miracles claimed by those of faith. This is right up his alley. Beginning as with any investigation, by talking to witnesses and pounding the pavement the investigations goes forward.
Following up on leads guides them to some very unorthodox characters. One name continues to come up, it draws dread and expressions of concern a horror when brought up during questioning. N’anga, who is it and what does it mean. It does not take long to begin to stir up the wrong kind of trouble and Dominic receives a warning, a very dead and desecrated monkey in his lodgings. Grey is not one to take warnings lightly, and he hunkers down even further, pounding out even the smallest of clues. Can he and his companions find William Addison before anything happens to him?
When another disappearance happens in the same way, they need to step up further, to find the culprit behind this crime. When bodies begin to show up and Dominic himself is attacked, all bets are off. This has now become deadly, and he will stop at nothing to find the answers.
But, can they find the answers in time or will they only find more bodies? Will Nya explain her actions and bring more trust to their team? The case is bizarre, and the ceremonies seem almost magical, can this group of individuals find the truth, and stop further murder from happening?
This is one of those books that make you want to turn on all the lights in your house and lock the doors. You begin to look over your shoulder often to make sure someone is not there. It is chilling, yet strange, with just enough of realism to keep it spooky. The settings are authentic and you can feel and smell the countryside. Green does an excellent job at creating the vision.
His characters are quite bold as well. Each has their own reason for being involved and together they make a fierce team. Trust is not automatic but grows throughout the story as each action unfolds. The flaws that make his characters human also make them real, and you get to know them well. Dominic Grey will be a character to look forward to in further stories.
I would recommend this book for reading groups and book clubs; it is well researched and full of intriguing information. This is a wonderful read for those who enjoy both suspense and action stories. It is full of both as well as a light bit of romance. It is quite intriguing and has a very satisfying ending.
This book was received as a free copy from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.