#Book Review #ARC – The Summoning; J.P. Smith

Book review stop! Today I’m delighted to be the host for The Summoning, a thriller written by J.P. Smith.

First thing first, let me thank the publisher, Poison Pen Press, for providing me with an e-copy of this book. Much obliged *hat tip* 


Every year, as the anniversary of 9/11 inches closer on the calendar, Kit Capriol scans the memorials published in the New York Times. It’s a simple thing to look up a name and phone number, to reach out to surviving family members who might still be yearning for connection with their lost loved one… to offer assistance. After her husband went down in the north tower, Kit scraped by as an actress, barely supporting herself and her daughter. But now Zoey is in the hospital, bills are due, and the acting work has dried up. Becoming a medium is almost too easy for someone used to pretending for a living—and desperate clients aren’t hard to come by.

Now, though, something has changed. The seances Kit holds in her apartment are starting to feel unsettlingly real, and the intriguing man she met at a local bar could be more complicated than he seems. As the voices of the dead grow louder in her head and the walls of her apartment close in, Kit realizes that despite her daughter’s absence, she hasn’t been quite as alone as she thought…

221 pages
Poisoned Pen Press
Thriller, mystery
Publication date: 07/09/21


Cover: Withering flowers, I like the symbolism.

The Summoning has been sitting on my TBR list for quite a while, and truth be told, I had great expectations about it. A captivating premise, an intriguing plot, and the first chapter read so promising: I mean, a fake medium who scams people in order to pay the hospital bills? Talk about dubious morality and shades of gray. I was hooked.

Problem is, the rest of the book didn’t deliver. 

Kit, the MC, has potential when it comes to characterization, a potential that’s left in the corner. She’s portrayed as a scammer, but then it turns out she might be the real thing after all, and there’s no freaking out in sight. The visceral reaction I’d expect from a liar is hardly there, too muted to sound realistic. 

I’m not sure if the culprit is the slowness of the plot or the confusing way it’s been structured, with flashbacks from the past that interrupt the story sometimes. Also, the POV switching seems to add to the confusion, even if it’s written in third. The last nail on the coffin has to do with the cast of characters: some of them just sound too alike.

Technically, The Summoning is well-written, so it’s not a matter of poor writing skills. Smith has a good grasp of grammar and syntax, and the editors did a pleasant job in cleaning up typos and such. It’s the developmental part I have a beef with. 

2.5 stars on GR.


J.P. Smith was born in New York City and began his writing career in England, where he lived for several years with his wife and daughter, and where his first novel was published. As a screenwriter, he was an Academy Nicholl Fellowship Semifinalist in 2014.

His ninth novel, The Summoning, a psychological thriller, was published on September 7th, 2021.

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