Monday, December 12, 2011

Debut Novel by Layton Green Thought-Provoking, Fascinating, And So Much More...
The Summoner:

A Novel of Suspense

By Layton Green

I have to admit upfront that I might not have read this book if I had known more about its content, so I want to point out that there is much explicit violence associated with a "cult" religion that was hard for me to read at times.. Many of the individuals involved may have been Catholics, who had just wanted to explore, "worshipping in a different way. It was an escape, hey? A Diversion.". It was often pointed out that "believing" the possibilities of supernatural events was important to those who got involved with such activities... In fact, the discussions soon became provocative and intriguing as readers are introduced to the beliefs and activities of various characters...

At the same time, it is one of the best written and suspenseful books I've read! It has clearly been well researched and the literary flair of the writing clearly must be recognized. What I did to get through several of the explicit scenes was to stop reading to avoid the images in my mind...but, once started, I just had to continue! Indeed, it is a book of heavy suspense, but it certainly has touches of horror, born out of the reality of the story line as opposed to its being intended.

Zimbabwe had a new leader, one who had begun to be called N'anga, The Summoner... His meetings were in secret, but he was gaining more and more followers, even though he taught a religion that had not previously been there in that country...

And at each meeting, someone disappeared! This had followed animal sacrifices by those who served and then by the babalawo himself. Each of the humans came willingly to the front, but then a circle...of blood...was drawn around that person at the same time he seemed to be snapped out of a trance...

The latest to disappear was a U.S. diplomat. Dominic Grey, a Diplomatic Security special agent was assigned to investigate.. However, although there was much political pressure to find the missing man, Grey was not head of the investigation and thus found roadblocks in doing what he needed to do. This was compounded by the mandate that he must always be escorted by Nya Mashumba, liaison to the local government. After hearing from the woman who had accompanied the diplomat to the ceremony, at least, they both realized that in order to start, they would have to actually attend one of the gatherings where the he had last been seen.

One other individual thankfully was assigned to help--Professor Viktor Radek, religious phenomenologist and expert on cults. This character is one cool dude and plays a major role in sharing important information about the differences of this particular priest as well as in the actual investigation. All they knew at this point, since he always wore robes and a mask was that he was African, since his hands had been visible... Through the character Victor, readers learn much about religious phenomena differentiated by the specific groups or activities encountered, as he explains various aspects as if he were in his classroom.

Aside from the actual story, Green provides much about the political climate as well as the beauty and people living there. The setting is both heart-breaking and thrilling as readers go deep into the bush itself as well as the culture there. Dominic Grey is clearly worthy of being the center of this series, here in its debut, and I loved watching his internal thoughts as he struggled with his attraction to Nya... The back stories for both Dominic and Nya add greatly to the novel, as each deals with the personal issues brought to mind, resulting from this case.

I can't say I loved this book, but I must say that it was more stimulating, both intellectually and emotionally, than I've experienced in a long time. I'm certainly glad I had the opportunity to read it, though some parts are truly hard to read and visualize. Unfortunately, it is reality in our world and the author has done a fantastic presentation of that reality in creating his story. The suspense is long, initiated almost from the beginning, and is skillfully woven to keep readers on constant edge, wondering not only who was doing what...but how. Because certainly, the magic and rituals of the juju priests had been handed down for many, many generations and we all become in awe as we witness them!

I've highlighted a reader I must say that I must also present this novel by Layton Green as a must-read. The explosive ending will surprise--but should it? Certainly one of the most thought-provoking novels you will ever read!

Book Received from


"Professor Radek sat patiently on the rocky outcropping, his massive frame hidden from view by the boulders and Masai trees...He had arrived hours ago to procure his position, and he felt secure...This promised to be an extraordinary event. His intellectual side--his professional side--was excited at the prospect... But he wondered if his other side, the side he knew from long experience lurked dormant or otherwise, inside everyone, was anticipating the event as well: grinning lasciviously, waiting to shake its craven thirst on the coming depravity. The side of him that he feared, after witnessing too many senseless monstrosities, had caused him to grow not just indifferent to the horror, but on some level beholden to its unholy fix...Victor found it captivating. Religion is the ultimate anthropological palette, a fascinating arena where each culture's concept of the divine manifests into intricate social constructs. Perhaps, he thought, we'll never know who has it right, if anyone. And that's the damnable wonder and terror of it all...

More men carried in a sheep, and the N'anga performed the two hundred cuts. Victor watched, enthralled. He'd never seen this ritual performed live. It was quite chilling...
Victor would never forget what he saw next...

About the Author:

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.

Layton lives with his wife and son in Miami.

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  1. Great review. I suspect this is one I'd have to be in the right mood to read, but you've definitely got me intrigued. I shall look out for it.

  2.'s like what I do with horror movies...always read them during the day...and then start reading another book before bed! LOL Thanks for your compliment!