In Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, life is often difficult and fraught with danger and hunger. It is here that Dominic Grey finds himself, working in the capacity of Diplomatic Security. Often quick to speak his mind and not always the first to follow rules, he has bounced around on different job. Always a fighter, an expert in self-defense and a practitioner of jiu jitsu, he is not someone you want to mess with. After a stint with Marine Recon, he was later recruited the CIA, where he might be too much of an independent rogue who does what needs to be done, when it needs to be done. Though he may not always be the most political figure, Dominic Grey has been crafted by author Layton Green to be a superb character, one who engenders trust in others and someone to be relied on to handle most situations.
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 shows 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 foggy ritual, in full view of an alarmed crowd.
Grey is skeptical, Nya is introspective, having a secret of her own for agreeing to the investigation, and Radek is enthralled, his background dealing 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. As with any investigation, talking to witnesses and pounding the pavement goes forward.
Following up on leads guides the inspectors to some very unorthodox characters. One name continues to come up, evoking dread and expressions of concern, sensations of 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, with 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 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?
The Summoner 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 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 his or her own reason for being involved and together the characters 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 The Summoner 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.