Series: Dominic Grey #3
Format Read: Kindle ARC
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Buying Links: The Book Depository* | Barnes & Noble | Amazon*
*affiliate links; clicking and making a purchase will result in a small commission for me.
Blurb from goodreads:
In this gripping thriller, the bizarre murder of a Satanic priest in San Francisco draws Dominic Grey and Viktor Radek, private investigators of cults, to the scene. Witnesses claim a robed figure, seemingly able to appear and disappear at will, set fire to the priest. When the leader of another Satanic cult in Paris dies under similar circumstances, the case only grows stranger… and more dangerous.
Convinced that a charismatic New Age prophet is behind the murders, the investigators undergo a perilous journey into the world of the occult as they try to penetrate the prophet’s inner circle. From the catacombs of Paris to London’s nefarious East End, from the haunted walls of York to a monastic fortress in the Sicilian wilderness, the case plunges Viktor and Grey into a vortex of black magic, ancient heresies, and the dark corners of their own pasts.
The Diabolist is a chilling novel that not only pulsates with action and suspense, but also mines a trove of fascinating historical, philosophical, and paranormal research to probe some of our closest held beliefs. From the opening pages to the astonishing conclusion, this latest installment in one of today’s most original new thriller series is not to be missed.
When Layton emailed me about reviewing his new book, I happily agreed as I had enjoyed the first two books very much. He also mentioned that his books have been picked up Thomas and Mercer Publishing, an imprint of Amazon. They are publishing this one and will re-publish the first two which were self-published. I'm excited about that as I hope that a publisher will be able to give them the push and the PR that can be difficult for an author to do alone. Layton did a fantastic job on the first two books, the quality was excellent but doing all that promo is exhausting and takes away from writing time, so I am hoping that Thomas and Mercer will make this series the best seller it should be.
As I said, I really enjoyed the first two books and had high expectations for this one. Although I didn't love it as much as the first two, it mostly lived up to my expectations. It had one major flaw, which I address later.
Viktor and Dominic have worked together for a year now. Although employer and employee, they are also friends, though they rarely share intimate details. Both are troubled, both are loners, both are inquisitive, both will do whatever they have to to solve a case and protect the innocent. This case is personal for Viktor, involving someone from his university days and he finds it difficult to share necessary information with Dominic though eventually he does. They butt heads several times and each makes some poor choices. Viktor and Dominic are real; they have flaws, they make mistakes, they lead lives that are sometimes boring, they make the best choice they can in whatever circumstances they find themselves and hope for the best. With the involvement of the person from Viktor's past, we get to know more about him and some of his layers are peeled away. As a result, he becomes even more real. I felt as if I actually knew him.
The locations in this book were less exotic than the first two, being set in San Francisco US, Paris France, Sicily, and London England with most of the book being set in England. I loved how Green made the settings in the first two books practically characters in the story and not just a foreign setting for the sake of being exotic. Since this book bounces around so much, the locations are not as strong but they are still important and we don't get the tourist perspective, which I appreciated.
Despite the exotic location, and the religious/supernatural/paranormal phenomena they investigate, and the many skills they each have, neither Dom nor Viktor are supermen. They get hurt and that affects them, they don't jump up and keep going. Okay, Dom does but he also passes out from blood loss before reaching his goal. They make the effort to keep going despite their injuries and it's realistic, not cartoonish. Instead it adds to the depth of the story and helps keep the book grounded in reality; that's a plus since the emphasis as always is on ephemeral things such as good, evil and faith.
The thing that I didn't like, that I'd like to see Green move away from, that kept the book from being a five star story, is how he incorporates women into the stories. The stories have few women but there's always one whom Dominic gets involved with and then she either suffers serious injury and they split or she turns out to be one of the bad guys. I'd really like to see a major female character with whom Dom does NOT get involved and I'd like to see more use of women as secondary characters. Honestly, that was the main flaw in the book and you may feel differently about it. The story didn't grip the way the first two did and I think a lot of it was due to my reaction to his use of women in the stories. It didn't help that Anka never felt as real to me as Dominic or Viktor or even the main villain.
So if you like a smart, complex, story with depth, that will make you think, then try these books. But read in order; you could read out of order but they're best appreciated in order.
If you're interested in some quotes from the book, see this post.
My review of book one, The Summoner. My review of book two, The Egyptian.