Title: The Summoner
Genre: Paranormal Mystery/Thriller
Author: Layton Green
Publishing Info: CreateSpace, 2011
Review by Jen Blood
In the first Dominic Grey novel, Diplomatic Security special agent Dominic Grey investigates the disappearance of a U.S. diplomat — who just happened to vanish in front of hundreds of onlookers during a shadowy religious ceremony in Africa. Grey works with Professor Viktor Radek to learn the truth, delving into the occult and centuries-old ritual far off the beaten path in Zimbabwe.
Layton Green’s debut novel is a page turner from the start. The writing is rich and evocative, the pacing can’t be beat, and Green writes with a sophisticated understanding of other cultures that is refreshing in a time when authors too frequently fall back on popular stereotype to convey exotic locales. A kind of thinking man’s (and woman’s) Dan Brown, Green’s characters have wonderful depth, and his subject matter is utterly fascinating (cults and human sacrifice and the collision of multiple religious sects in modern-day Africa). One of the most chilling books I’ve read in some time, I will advise that the writing may be a little graphic for fans who prefer your cozier brand of whodunit. Other than that, however, I can’t say enough about this book. Spooky and occasionally metaphysical, The Summoner harkens back to The Serpent and the Rainbow in its ability to convincingly portray seemingly paranormal events in a realistic (and therefore even creepier) manner. An unreserved five stars for this novel.
Jen Blood is author of the Erin Solomon mystery series, and runs the popular mystery book blog, BloodWrites.com, where Layton Green is the featured author all this week.