Monday, July 26, 2010

Review: The Hypnotist by M.J. Rose

Time played tricks on him whenever he stood in front of the easel. Hypnotized by the rhythm of the brush on the canvas, by one color merging into another, the two shades creating a third, the third melting into a fourth, he was lulled into a single-minded consciousness focused only on the image emerging. Immersed in the act of painting, he forgot obligations, missed classes, didn't remember to eat or to drink or look at the clock. [opening of The Hypnotist]


The Hypnotist by M.J. Rose
Mira, 2010
Crime Fiction; 409 pgs


Synopsis from the author's website:
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.
I was first introduced to M.J. Rose's writing through her crime fiction series, featuring a sex therapist Dr. Morgan Snow. I enjoyed the series and so was excited when she came out with the Reincarnationist series, especially given the subject matter. Like so many books, however, the series went on my wish list, and I hadn't had the opportunity to read any of the books until now, beginning with the third book in the series, The Hypnotist. Although labeled a series, the Reincarnationist books (The Reincarnationist, The Memorist and The Hypnotist) can be read in any order. Their only connection seems to be the fact that they deal with past lives at their heart. The stories and the characters are independent of one another.

The above synopsis only covers a piece of what can be found in The Hypnotist. So much is going on that I would not recommend setting the book aside once you start for days a time before returning to it. You may lose a thread or forget an important detail. I had the luxury of reading most of this book in one sitting and found it captivating all the while. It was never dull and each thread of the story seemed carefully crafted to create a suspenseful and fascinating ride. As I read, I could hardly wait to see how everything would come together in the end.

The idea of past lives has long interested me, and so I was especially drawn to that aspect of the book. I haven't done nearly as much research into the subject as the author has, but my interest has been piqued. While the novel itself stretches believability, it does not do so in a way that interferes with the suspension of disbelief. I was hooked from the start and lost in the novel right through to the end. The characters were well developed, some more complex than others.

Art history has never been one of my strong suits, but I am fascinated by history itself and find the world of art theft intriguing. One issue the novel brought up that especially caught my interest was the trail of ownership a piece of art may leave, the complexities of it and just how difficult it could be to trace the art back to its origin. History is full of its own mysteries. It is no wonder I love it so.

Having been reading so many books about the Vietnam War recently, The Hypnotist was a nice change. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.

Ratings: * (Very Good)

You can learn more about M.J. Rose and her books on the author's website. Be sure and check the TLC Book Tours website as well for other tour dates and links to reviews.



Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour. Book for review provided by the publisher.





© 2010, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

25 comments:

  1. Great review, Wendy! So this is the book which you'd mentioned in your comment on my review of a non-fiction book I read. :)

    Reincarnation or past lives intrigued me so I'll have to take a look at this series.

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  2. I've read M.J. Rose's mystery series about the sex therapist as well and did enjoy that one. I've seen this new series and wondered about it, but haven't read any of the books. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one, Wendy. I think it might be something I would enjoy at just the right moment.

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  3. Amazon was giving away this entire series for Kindles (you can download a free copy to your PC). I have't read it yet but I've been wanting to since it first came out. Everyone really seems to like it.

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  4. I have been interested in this series since it first came out. I managed to obtain a copy of the Memoirist at BEA last year, but have yet to read it. It is nice to know that they do not have to be read in order, even though they are considered a series.

    This one about art theft sounds particularly interesting to me :)

    GREAT review!

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  5. This sounds like such an interesting approach to crime. I'm not familiar with this author but I like art and it seems like something I would like!

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  6. You know, I have been really curious about these books, but this is the first real review I have seen. It does sound like a really interesting concept, and the fact that it is so engaging also makes me intrigued. Thanks for the great review! I will be looking for the first in this series.

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  7. This does sound intriguing. My mother has always been interested in the idea of past lives, so I bet she would especially enjoy this.

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  8. The topic is very interesting, and very atypical from the normal crime series. I read the first two, and I found myself rolling my eyes alot. It felt alot like the Da Vinci Code, with clue-searching and predictable outcomes. On the positive side, she does have alot of history in her stories.

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  9. Art and history, two things I love!! Thanks, Wendy, for a great review. I'm glad you found this book interesting. Thanks so much for being on the tour and for trying something different!

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  10. I'm glad you reviewed this. I was ambivalent about Rose's last book but I think I will give this one a try.

    -Amy
    Life by Candleligth

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  11. Sounds like the type of book I would like. Thanks for the review!

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  12. I will definitely be adding this to my list to read!

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  13. I've read a lot about the earlier books. This one sounds good!

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  14. I thought the first two were pretty good, and like Sandy, they reminded me of the DaVinci Code. I'm looking forward to reading this one at some point.

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  15. I'm reading this one now, and really like it. I enjoyed The Memorist, but I haven't read the first book in the series yet.

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  16. This latest book does sound good. I have the other two sitting on my shelf so I think I'll probably read those first. I've also always been interested in past lives - it's such an intriguing idea to think you may have lived as someone else or will at some point.

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  18. I just love it when I get the chance to sit and read for loooong stretches of time. Doesn't happen often enough. Darn job ;o)

    Glad you were able to accommodate this book that apparently needed these stretches of reading time. I haven't come across too many books that deal with past lives.

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  19. I have all three books, I just need to find the time to start reading.

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  20. I have this one to read soon and now I'm really looking forward to it!

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  21. sounds like a good read!! alas, i have a pet peeve about reading series books out of order (though i do it!) and would probably start at the beginning with this one.

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  22. I don't have any of these..always meant to pick at least one of them up though. Thanks for the tip about not putting it aside. Lately, I have been reading a couple at a time and tend to get lost in one or the other one. I vowed last year I would read one book at a time, but have slipped back to old habits. Ha!

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  23. I'm about to embark on the Vietnam War reading journey starting with Paco's Story. I'm not sure if I'd start on this series but it's sure good to know. :D

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  24. Thank you for letting me know it's okay to read these out of order. I'm very finicky about that, but if you say it's okay I believe you :)

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  25. I had a good time reading this book and am looking forward to catching up with the earlier books. Thank you all for your kind comments. If you haven't read this one yet and plan to, I hope you will enjoy it!

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