A 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.
The first work in a globe-hopping series whose protagonists investigate the world's most bizarre and dangerous cults, The Summoner is a stylish, haunting novel of mystery and suspense that will linger long after the last page is turned. 335 Pages (95,000 words).
Book 2 Dominic Grey Series
At a mausoleum in Cairo’s most notorious cemetery, a mercenary receives a package containing a silver test tube suspended in hydraulic stasis.
An investigative reporter tracking rogue biomedical companies is terrified by the appearance of a mummified man outside her Manhattan apartment.
A Bulgarian scientist who dabbles in the occult makes a startling discovery in his underground laboratory.
These seemingly separate events collide when Dominic Grey and Viktor Radek, private investigators of cults, are hired by the CEO of an Egyptian biomedical firm to locate stolen research integral to the company’s new life extension product. However, after witnessing the slaughter of a team of scientists by the remnants of a dangerous cult thought long abandoned, Grey and Viktor turn from pursuers to pursued.
From the gleaming corridors of visionary laboratories to the cobblestone alleys of Eastern Europe to a lost oasis in the Sahara, Grey and Viktor must sift through science and myth to uncover the truth behind the Egyptian and his sinister biotech – before that truth kills them.
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Also, I will be reading/reviewing The Egyptian for Night Owl Reviews within the next several weeks.
How did you start your writing career?
I started my writing career with a story that was dying to be told, but with zero aspirations to be an author. I thought I would write some thoughts down, put it in a drawer, and that would be that. I realized very quickly that writing novels was what I wanted to do with my life. Of course, then I had to figure out how to write!
Does travel play in the writing of your books?
Absolutely. I live to travel, and most of my books do and will involve exotic settings. I like nothing better than journeying to a foreign country, delving into a culture and then relaying the experience in a novel.
Who is your favorite author?
That’s always a tough one, as there are so many amazingly talented authors who I admire or whose writing has influenced me in some way or another. My favorite novel is The Magus by John Fowles, but some of my other favorites are James Lee Burke, Herman Hesse, Michael Gruber, Haruki Murakami, Charlie Huston, Martin Cruz Smith, and Dan Simmons.
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
I have a couple of extremely intelligent and well-read friends who are my beta readers, and then it goes to my editor, Richard Marek, who was a gift from the writing gods.
What do you think makes a good story?
I think a good story is one that is, above all else, interesting. Assuming a well-written story, no matter the genre, my advice for aspiring writers is: Don’t be boring. That doesn’t mean you have to write a novel at a breakneck pace, it just means that readers shouldn’t want to put it down because they have to see what you’re going to say next.
What books are you reading now?
Hyperion by Dan Simmons, and Big Machine by Viktor LaSalle.
Your novels deal with a lot of human issues – religion, cults, government oppression, race relations, etc. Are there any personal challenges you want your readers to take away from your novels?
That’s a great question. My goals as a novelist are to: 1) entertain and 2) challenge people to think about various issues. In The Summoner I tried to explore questions of faith and theology through the lens of an ancient religion, as well as to provide a snapshot of a beautiful country in peril and explore some of the issues involved.
Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?
Write, edit, read the great writers, rinse and repeat ad nauseam. Never let a book see the light of day until you can’t stand the sight of it anymore, yet grudgingly admit that it’s decent.
Who should play you in a film of your life?
Harrison Ford. Not because I in any way resemble him, but because he was Indy, and Hans Solo. And Indy. And how cool would that be?
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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