Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Summoner / Layton Green

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Approximate word count: 95-100,00 words

Availability Kindle: YES              Nook: YES             DTB: NO


Layton Green has worked at a variety of odd jobs, from bartender, to teaching English as a second language in Central America, to the oddest of them all, an attorney. He says he’s visited more than fifty countries and lived in several of them. Somehow, amongst all of that, he found the time to write his first novel, get married, and produce a son. The family of three currently lives in Miami.  For more visit author's web site.


A former US diplomat disappears in front of hundreds of people in an isolated area of Zimbabwe. Dominic Grey, a special agent for Diplomatic Security, spearheads the search for him. Strange religious cults, corrupt government officials, and a local barkeep all seem to muddy the waters and get in Grey’s way.

The Sommoner is the first in a series-to-be featuring Dominic Grey. A troubled childhood and a series of jobs including short stints in the military, the CIA, and now Diplomatic Security have given Grey a unique set of skills. His life experience has given him a distinctive outlook on life that is the opposite of what might be expected. He operates based on facts and his moral compass, the last of these being the cause of his history of short job tenure. Yet for someone so morally grounded Grey’s attitude toward religion is skeptical, at best. Not only does faith in a deity conflict with Grey’s preference for facts, but also his childhood experiences turned him against religion. Grey is a unique character. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

The setting of Zimbabwe gives this book a different feel as we learn about the country - its culture, politics, and religion. The story keeps you in suspense as Grey attempts to sort out who his allies are and find what happened to the former diplomat whose disappearance he’s investigating. It delivers on the suspense and thrills through every plot twist.

Author Green also has a writing style I found engaging and for the most part polished beyond what I would expect from a first novel. However, there is one exception. Green has a tendency to overuse obscure, archaic, or “hundred dollar” words. In some instances, these are spouted by an academic and may be justified for characterization reasons. However, they are often not justified, seemingly used because he can rather than because it’s needed. Regardless of how well developed your vocabulary, you’ll find at least a handful of occasions to be thankful for your Kindle or Nook’s built-in dictionary.

Format/Typo Issues:

I found no formatting issues, typos, or proofreading slipups.

Rating: **** Four Stars

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