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The Summoner
by Layton Green

Tea, flowers and an open book on a table in the garden - Used to feature my book reviews

This book was sent to me, for review, by talented new author Layton Green, to introduce his  character ‘Dominic Grey’, in this, his first of a planned series of globe-trotting adventures, investigating the world’s most bizarre and dangerous cults.


Cover image of the book 'The Summoner' by author Layton GreenA 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 priest seemingly able to perform impossibilities, and the identity of the newest target.

Himself . . .

Cover image of the book 'The Summoner' by author Layton Green


(photograph by Robin Shetler Photography)

Image Of Author Layton Green - Updated September 2017Layton writes across multiple genres, including mystery, thriller, suspense, fantasy, and horror.

He is the author of the Genesis Trilogy, the Dominic Grey series, the Blackwood Saga, the Preach Everson novels, and other works of fiction.

His novels have been optioned for film, nominated for numerous awards (including a rare three-time finalist for an International Thriller Writers award), translated into multiple languages, and have topped dozens of bestseller lists. Layton is also the former co-creator and editor of International Thrills, an online column that interviewed crime authors from around the world.

In addition to writing, Layton attended law school in New Orleans and was a practicing attorney for the better part of a decade. 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 in Florida, and the list goes downhill from there.

Visit Layton at his Website

Connect with Layton on Facebook

Cover image of the book 'The Summoner' by author Layton Green


December 9, 2009

The only thing Dominic Grey knew for certain about the disappearance of  William Addison was that it was the strangest case to which he had ever been assigned. The facts were few. Three nights ago, Addison, retired head of Consular Affairs at the United States Embassy in Zimbabwe, attended a religious ceremony on the outskirts of Harare. What religion the ceremony belonged to remained unclear. Harris Powell, Deputy Director of Diplomatic Security and the man now walking beside Grey, had described it as “one of those African ones.”

According to Addison’s girlfriend, a Zimbabwean nurse thirty years his junior, Addison was drawn into the center of a ring of worshippers. The girlfriend didn’t know what happened inside the circle. She tried to follow, but couldn’t press through the crowd. What she did know is that he never came out…

Cover image of the book 'The Summoner' by author Layton Green


“Turn on all your lights and lock all your doors!”

It really is difficult to believe that this is Layton Green’s first foray into the world of thriller writing. In Layton, we have an amazing new talent, together with a strong and instantly established new character, in Dominic Grey.

I should say straight away, that this is not a book for the faint-hearted, or those of you with a weak stomach.

I suspect there has been great thought about Dominic and his path for future adventures, before Layton has taken pen to paper, with the result being a character that has great depth and strength of character, right from the opening page.

We get to know about Dominic’s own troubled past almost immediately, which straightaway forms a bond between him and the reader. From his violent and abusive childhood; his struggle to strengthen himself in mind and body, so that ‘The Sins Of The Father Shall Not Be Visited Upon The Son’; and his continuous, ongoing battle to maintain that equilibrium and balance in his life. His ethos and beliefs are that he can control his demons and use their power to help people, he operates only on facts and keeps a clear set of morals.

All these emotions and reactions are laid bare by Layton, so that the reader can almost get inside Dominic’s mind, as he plots his next move.

Layton seems to have built a central core of two other characters, during the course of this story, who I think Dominic will ultimately take with him, on his future adventures:

Nya is the perfect foil for Dominic’s fragile volatility. Calm and dispassionate in her work, whilst all too aware of the plight of many of her fellow Zimbabweans. She is trying desperately to hold on to her strong Christian faith, instilled in her by her father, but is constantly being tested as to it’s validity and worth.

Victor is still, even at the end of the book, quite a strong, complex character who hasn’t yet been fully exposed as a recognisable force in his own right, although as Dominic’s new employer, his personality should begin to unfold with time.

Layton has managed to strike a good balance between being informative about a country, with it’s obvious inherent political and social problems, without bombarding the reader with a ‘Party Political Broadcast’ about the situation.

Through his fantastic use of the English Language, he eloquently portrays vivid images of the beauty of this troubled country; its sights, sounds and smells coming alive in their descriptions. You can almost ‘feel the landscape’.

The macabre, graphic and often troubling plot, evoked some very disturbing thoughts and managed to convey the palpable and obvious fear, suspicion, hatred and superstition, which is all too evident in modern Zimbabwean society.

The way that a people, in such obvious turmoil and looking for something tangible to cling on to, can be whipped up into a frenzy of ‘religious’ fervour, is expertly crafted into the plot by Layton, making the book a true experience of human vulnerability.

The plot had many twists and turns along the way and several times I felt that I had cracked the secret of N’anga, only to be thwarted as the next chapter unfolded. In the end, the secret identity was a complete surprise and was a well thought out storyline, that few would have guessed at.

Some reviews have pronounced this book to be too ‘wordy’ and have slated Layton for using words whose meanings have to be looked up. Whilst the latter comment may have been the case for me a couple of times, it only made me think about the writing more and concentrate on the content more intently. It is good to see the English Language being used to its full potential, without the slang and text speak, which has invaded our communication chain recently!! It was great to have actually needed to READ a book.

Layton Green is definitely a new force to be reckoned with in the genre of thriller writing, an author of the highest calibre.

The fact that this book was read and reviewed by myself, at the request of the author, did not influence my rating or comments in any way. In case you haven’t worked it out yet – I Love This Book !!!!

Bring on more Dominic Grey as soon as possible please !!

Has to be 5 out of 5 for this one

Image Of Author Layton Green - Updated September 2017



Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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    • Hi Cath,

      Thanks for the lovely comment, it is appreciated.

      ‘The Summoner’ really is well worth reading so long as you are not too squeamish.

      It is worrying to think that the events that unfold in the book are taking place in ‘modern day’ Zimbabwe and if Layton’s research holds true, in many other parts of the world !!

  • Well, I’m all for writers who use words I have to look up as long as they are using them in the process of telling a good story as well. I’ll add him to the list of books the library are not finding for me at the moment. (Sorry, Helene Hanff moment there!) Have you read Sara Paretsky’s one off book ‘Burning Kansas’? This is about the effects of extreme religious sects in a small town in Kansas and is chilling to say the least, mainly because it is so very believable.

    • Hi Annie,

      A fantastic read if you can get hold of a copy, you certainly won’t be disappointed.

      For a new author, it is a very well researched and written piece, with a character that has some great enduring qualities, to take forward on any new adventures.

      Did you mean ‘Bleeding Kansas’, by Sara Peretsky? I assumed you did. I checked this one out and have already added it to my wish list, it sounds like my kind of read. In fact, this is another unknown author to me, but one which I shall certainly be looking out for. Thanks for the recommendation

  • I’ve seen a few reviews of this book around the web this past couple of days and all of them were very positive. It certainly sounds like a good read and one I may just add to my ever-growing list of books to read.

    • Hi Nikki,

      I haven’t seen a bad review of this book, I have to say.

      One Amazon critic, did comment that he found Layton’s extensive use of the English language unnecessary, as it made the whole thing too ‘wordy’ and meant that he had to keep looking up the meaning of words. He still gave it 5 stars !!

      I didn’t find that a problem at all, in fact it made a change to read a book that made full use of English, without some of the slang and abbreviations that many of the modern day authors use.

      I think you would probably enjoy the book, real edge-of-the-seat stuff!

  • A fantastic review, I have to say – you had me hooked. I’d never heard of this book before now, but I may just have to check it out. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Hello Ink Slinger,

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment, I appreciate it.

      I think that my thoughts about this book, may have been a little on the lengthy side, but having said that, it is well worth the read and certainly took me outside of my comfort zone, in many ways.

      Layton’s style of writing and approach to the story was excellent, so long as he can keep coming up with fresh ideas for the characters’ adventures, he should continue to have every success in his career.

    • Hi Harvee,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, it’s great to meet you and the link is much appreciated.

      I have to say, that this book, is one of the best I have read for ages. The storyline flowed easily, the plot wasn’t overly complicated although I had no idea who N’anaga was until the author revealed his identity, and the descriptive qualities of both the characters and locations were excellent.

      This may not have been a book that I would have picked up off the shelf, but I am really glad that the author requested the review and I was given the opportunity to read it.

    • Hi,

      Thanks for your earlier visit to ‘Fiction Books’ and for taking the time to leave comment, it is much appreciated.

      I have to admit that I have become addicted to Layton Green’s character ‘Dominic Grey’, both in his first adventure in ‘The Summoner’ and in his subsequent mission to Egypt in ‘The Egyptian’.

      I doubt that Layton would have come to my attention, if he had not contacted me to advance read and review both titles, but I am certainly glad that he did.

      Your recommendation of ‘Miss Garrote’ was new to me, as is the author Victoria Newhope, however, I checked out the synopsis and have to say that this is definitely a book that I want to read.

      It has received nothing but great reviews in the US, although seems to be relatively unknown and unreviewed here in the UK, so I shall have to rectify that ASAP.

      Thanks very much for the recommendation.

Written by Yvonne