The Shadow Cartel - Layton Green

This is the fourth book in Layton Green's Dominic Grey series, the three before this The Summoner, The Egyptian and The Diabolist are all great reads and do set up the relationships that Grey has. However, I do think that this book could be read as a stand-alone novel, but I do highly recommend the other books in this series.

Layton Green brings Dominic Grey back and this time the cult he and Viktor are investigation goes hand in hand with drug trafficking and even more:

Dominc Grey is known for his investigation skills and the ability to get the job done no matter what, so when a former lover contacts him to look into a death of a family friend Grey never thought that he would become involved in an international narcotics trafficking investigation. Multiple murders of drug dealers would be seen as a positive to many people, but it is the manner of death that seem to be associated with a bizarre religious ceremony and a mythical assassin that the FBI believes it is only a matter of time before the public gets caught in the cross fire. FBI Agent Federico Hernandez and CIA operative Lana Valenciano are running down the same path as Grey but they all seem to have their own agenda and trust is always in question. Grey and Viktor need to need to figure out the religious connection in order to identify the General, the one pulling the strings which has all the cartels scared and the body count on both sides of the law increasing.

I honestly do not know why Green is not a more well-known author or on the top of best read lists. His books are well researched, well written, intelligent, interesting, sometimes downright scary, great investigative work and lots of action scenes. His Dominic Grey series is one of my all-time favorites as it had a mix of everything I want in a mystery/action adventure/thriller novel. I love that Green lets his main characters get hurt, both physically and mentally and he is not afraid to push the limits and boundaries of either of them. You can also tell by his writing style that you never know who is going to make it out alive or whole in each book and that also goes for the main characters as well. This adds to the overall suspense of the book, as you start to think, will this be it for them. I know that helps keep me on the edge of my seat.

Green has introduced me to cult from around the world that I have never heard of and shows the ever reaching power they can have over people, cultures and society. I do not think I have read a series that divulges into to the cult world so thoroughly that you can tell that Green does a massive amount of research before he write these novels. I will say that the second half of this book had less "cultness" in it and it was more about the power of the General, but the power that The General was ever reaching and in some ways I feel like Green is pulling on something that has actually happened.

At the beginning of this book, Grey almost seems normal. I mean he still has his demons from his past, and his interactions with cults in previous books, but he seems to be working on something positive in his life. I actually wish that there would have been more of a connection to the beginning of the book of Grey teaching students the art of fighting and self defense. I really enjoyed this new aspect in Grey's character and wellbeing that I was a little disappointed that there was not more of it. But this would not be a novel written by Green if he made Grey’s life easy.

In the previous books the parts that were detailed by Viktor Radek I tended to find a bit slow, but I understood their importance in the novel as Viktor is really the brain of the operation and Grey the brawn. I found that Viktor was missing in his book and his detailed explanation on how the cults works was missing and this was a key piece that I always enjoyed in Green's novels. Green uses so many unique cults that Green has introduced me to that I find these part really interesting. I understand why Green had to put Viktor on the back burner in this book, and you will have to read The Dialbolist to understand, but I really did miss him in this book. I hope that we see the return of more of the partnership between Viktor and Grey in the next book, well that is if Grey can survive.

Layton Green is an author that I have been enjoying for a few years now, and while I think this is my least favourite so far in the series, this does not mean this is a bad read. It still had many of the aspects I have come to expect from his writing that will always keep me coming back for more. Highly recommended author and series, there needs to be more books written like this series and of course more Dominic Grey.


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