Claire’s sister Diana has just graduated from high school and is off on her first summoning. It leads her to the local indoor shopping mall, where she discovers that evil forces are quietly infiltrating the mall, where they hope to gradually create a segue into our world. Diana is the strongest keeper alive, but even she is not confident enough to take on the mall problem by herself, so she asks Claire (now back at the bed and breakfast with Austin, her feline familiar, and Dean, her hot housekeeper) to help. She also gets some help from Sam, the cat who used to be an angel, and a band of mall elves led by King Arthur.
I loved the idea of a shopping mall that is gradually being turned into a portal to “the Otherside” by becoming synced, over time, with a copy of the mall that’s on the Otherside. Items and creatures can cross from one side to the other and shoppers may unwittingly purchase evil objects, giving the Otherside a foothold in our world. I thought this was so imaginative and clever. I also loved that Dean got to do his own thing this time. He’s still my favorite character, and I liked the mummy subplot.
But just like the previous book, The Second Summoning, Long Hot Summoning was really silly. The repetitively-themed jokes are not funny to me anymore and the characters have always been pretty shallow. The mall and the mummy plots each have a great premise but they both play out in a light, campy way alongside a constant stream of silly jokes. This was not for me because I quickly tire of that sort of humor, but those who’ve enjoyed Tanya Huff’s sense of humor in this series will like Long Hot Summoning a lot better than I did.
Tantor Audio’s new edition is excellently narrated by Amy Melissa Bentley.