The Summoner (Dominic Grey, #1) - Layton Green Originally posted on The Bibliophile's JournalIt’s the year of 2009 in Harare, Zimbabwe. A Diplomatic Security Special Agent, Dominic Grey, is assigned to investigate a mysterious disappearance of an ex-US diplomat, William Addison, under the supervision of local authority, a government liason named Nya Mashumba. Earlier investigation showed that Addison went missing whilst attending a religious ceremony held in a Zimbabwean bush. With the help of an expert on cults, Victor Radek, they later find out that this ceremony was held by a movement derived from a traditional Yoruba religion, JuJu. This new version of JuJu has a darker side that involves evocation of evil spirits and ritual sacrifices that includes human sacrifice. As they get deeper into this investigation, they uncover more disturbing evidences that they believe to be related to this eerie movement. In this race against time, will they manage to locate Addison alive? And can they unmask the man behind this disappearance before they, too, become the victims?The Summoner is a plot-driven, well paced novel that is full with intrigues that will keep readers questioning and guessing till the very last page. While reading this novel, it is very obvious to me that Layton Green has done an extensive research in the subject of Yoruba religion, its derivatives and also the life in Zimbabwe itself. He filled his novel with articulate, summarised version of this vast information in such concise yet detail way, which makes it easier for someone with little to zero knowledge about these subjects to truly understand the important part of this novel, imagine the situation that shrouded the country and how depressing it really is. Besides that, Green also managed to maintain the suspence elements throughout The Summoner by carefully organised the mystery, spice it up with multiple interesting twists that readers could hardly expect. All these make this book such an engrossing read.Like many other plot-driven book, The Summoner also comes a little flat when it comes to character development. It is true that there are some descriptions about the characters, for example Dominic and Nya’s backgrounds, but they are often spelled out rather than revealed. This makes me feels detached from the characters to the point that I do not really feel much when something happen to them. There is not much that has been revealed about the third important character in The Summoner, Victor, so I really hope that readers will find out more about this interesting, intelligent man in the next instalment. Other than that, there is also a brief romantic relationship that occurs unexpectedly in this book that I find too rush and little bit unbelievable. I understand the author’s intention in not turning this book into love story but I think it would be nice if there are some explanations on their relationship.In the nutshell, The Summoner is a gripping, gruesome and disturbing story that is packed with action and information. For those who are squirmish, there are some parts of this book that will surely make you squirm (Don’t say I didn’t warn you!). The pace, the unexpected twists and shocking revelations surely make this book one engrossing read.