Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Hypnotist by MJ Rose

An FBI agent, tormented by a death he wasn't able to prevent, a crime he's never been able to solve and a love he's never forgotten, discovers that his true conflict resides not in his past, but in a…Past Life.

Haunted by a twenty-year old murder of a beautiful young painter, Lucian Glass keeps his demons at bay through his fascinating work as a Special Agent with the FBI's Art Crime Team. Currently investigating a crazed art collector who has begun destroying prized masterworks, Glass is thrust into a bizarre hostage negotiation that takes him undercover at the Phoenix Foundation—dedicated to the science of past life study—where, in order to maintain his cover, he agrees to submit to the treatment of a hypnotist.

Under hypnosis, Glass travels from ancient Greece to 19th century Persia, while the case takes him from New York to Paris and the movie capital of world. These journeys will change his very understanding of reality, lead him to question his own sanity and land him at the center of perhaps the most audacious art heist in history: the theft of a 1,500 year old sculpture from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

International bestselling author M. J. Rose's The Hypnotist is her most mesmerizing novel yet. An adventure, a love story, a clash of cultures, a spiritual quest, it is above all a thrilling capstone to her unique Reincarnation novels, The Reincarnationist and The Memorist. 
When FBI agent Lucian Glass is attacked during the course of an investigation it isn't the first time that this has happened to him. The first time was twenty years before when he walked into the framing business owned by his girlfriend's father to find her dead and to be attacked himself during a robbery that crossed the line into homicide.

Now he finds himself on the trail of the Memory Tools - a series of objects that are believed to be "deep meditation aids that could help people access past-life memories." The legacy of this second attack are frequent headaches, and a unnerving compulsion to capture images of several women who he has never even met before. All he knows is that he must draw their faces and that he doesn't quite get them right. During the course of the investigation, he finds himself being hypnotised and that those faces are connected to his current case in ways he could never imagine.

In many ways, this is a by-the-book thriller. There are numerous characters, all with their own agendas, and seemingly unconnected until key moments in the story. There are dramatic and life threatening moments, complete with incredible escapes and moments of heroics from the major players in the story. 

The most desperate characters are those who are trying to gain possession of Hypnos, an eight foot tall statue that is said to hold the key to unlock incredible mental powers. Whilst some of those efforts include pursuing legal ownership of the statue, others are prepared to do absolutely anything, including destroy priceless artworks, and kill, to get what they want.

It is the destroyed artwork that begin to draw the threads of the story together for Lucian, for the destroyed painting is the very one that was stolen the night that his girlfriend was murdered, a crime that is still unsolved. It also brings him into contact with her cousin, Emeline, who maybe, just maybe might be the person who can finally help him get past what happened that fateful night.

I mentioned before that this in some ways is a standard thriller style novel. In other ways it really isn't because the background includes discussion of things like past life regression, as well as other forms of reincarnation and the spending time inside the rarefied air of the Metropolitan Museum of Art brings yet another fascinating aspect of the book to the fore.

At its heart this novel is a story about how far different people will go to get their heart's desire, in this case either the statue of Hypnos or the memory tools themselves. At its spiritual core it is a story about the ties bind people to their past lives. As a whole, it is multiple threads of plot woven together with skill.  And for Lucian, it asks the question can he ever get past the tragedies of his past.

When I mentioned a few days ago that I was reading this book, I talked about being uncomfortable with the fact that I was reading a series out of order. M J Rose responded in the comments and said the following:

What connects them is that there are ancient memory tools that have been lost and they aid in reincarnation and in each book a different tool surfaces but an all new group of main characters are involved.

Anything that repeats - like the foundation in NY that studies reincarnation and its directors - is written so that anyone can read any of the books out of order and understand everything. Unlike a book where the main character repeats - these are quite different.
I think given that many of the characters are new in the book, I didn't necessarily worry too much about the fact that I hadn't read the earlier books once I got into the story. I don't know that I necessarily felt the lack of that background, but I have no doubt that there would have been elements that would have been enhanced had I read the previous books.

The thriller is really a genre that I don't read that much of, so I enjoyed this step outside my normal reading comfort zone, and I am planning to read the earlier books in this series soon.

Rating 4/5

Thanks to Meryl L Moss Media Relations for sending me a copy of this book for review purposes and to TLC Booktours for letting my jump on board their blog tour for this book. You can visit other stops on this blog tour at the following stops.

Wednesday, July 21st: The Book Vixen review
Wednesday, July 21st:  The Book Vixen Author Guest Post
Thursday, July 22nd: Rundpinne
Monday, July 26th: Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Tuesday, July 27th:  Fiction Vixen Book Reviews
Tuesday, July 27th:  Layers of Thought Guest Post and Giveaway
Wednesday, July 28th: The Cajun Booklady
Thursday, July 29th: Bellas Novella
Friday, July 30th: Savvy Verse and Wit
Monday, August 2nd: Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!
Tuesday, August 3rd: Fantasy & Sci Fi Lovin’ News and Reviews
Wednesday, August 4th:  Rex Robot Reviews
Thursday, August 5th:  Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Friday, August 6th: Luxury Reading
Monday, August 9th: The Book Faery Reviews
Wednesday, August 11th:  Book Junkie
Thursday, August 12th:  Starting Fresh
Monday, August 16th: The Tome Traveller
Wednesday, August 18th: Layers of Thought


  1. I am glad that you read out of your comfort zone and were able to enjoy the book! I am not yet sure if I will be reading these, but I did appreciate your review. It gave me some things to consider about the book. Thanks!

  2. I'm glad this stretch out of your comfort zone was successful!! Great review. Thank you so much for being on the tour.

  3. I'm definitely planning to read this one. I read another one by her (darn it, can't remember the title) and really enjoyed it.

  4. Great review Marg - I personally have a bit of an issue with hypnosis, so it might be a stretch for me too, but I still really want to read it! And thanks for bringing Booktrib to my attention too...

  5. You are welcome. There is a lot of good stuff on Booktrib.

    Kathleen, I am reading Reincarnationist now, and finding it a good read too.

    LisaMM, thanks for accomodating me. I know the fact that I don't live in North America is sometimes a bit of an issue.

    Zibilee, you are welcome!

  6. I'm so glad to read your post on this (albeit a bit late). I got this from LibraryThing Early Reviewers but didn't realize it was the 3rd in the series. I read the first one at the beginning of the summer but haven't read the 2nd. Now I feel like I can read the 3rd without any disconnect!



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