M. J. Rose
Received for review via TLC Book Tours
Normally, I write my own synopsis for every book I review, but due to the complicated nature of this book I'm not sure I can adequately sum up the story in a way that won't royally confuse you all, so I've taken the description from M.J. Rose'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.
The Hypnotist is a story that combines an interesting array of elements–from murder and mystery to robberies both past and present to a touch of the paranormal with the possibility of past-life regression and reincarnation. We are undoubtedly intrigued by the number of storylines presented, infinitely curious to see how all these seemingly separate characters and events will prove to be linked in either the smallest or most profound of ways. That being said however, the constant shuffle from one set of characters to another in the beginning is a bit overwhelming. We want to know more about the characters we meet, but with each chapter someone new is introduced, a new storyline begins, and we often don't return to already familiar individuals for several chapters, giving us plenty of time to temporarily forget the specifics of their piece of the puzzle and have to backtrack to get caught up.
The concept of reincarnation is one of the more fascinating aspects though, spiriting us away to places and events that keep our eyes riveted to the pages as we wonder how what we're experiencing is going to tie into the present. We get tiny snapshots of the past–little clues to help us paint a clearer picture of the characters we know in the current time period–that force us to question whether we believe in such a possibility as past lives and, if we do, what ours might have been like. The only drawback to this particular element is again the complex nature of it, adding so many dots to the picture we're not sure we'll ever be able to connect them all by the time we're done reading or even after. Those who have an abundance of patience for detail-oriented stories will likely revel in this elaborate tale, but for others like me who enjoy a plot that makes you work but not to the extent where you begin to feel defeated by the immensity of the puzzle, this book might be a bit of a challenge to find your way through.
Overall, The Hypnotist will appeal to fans of complicated mysteries and thrillers, with the lack of strong character connection in favor of intricate plotlines being less problematic for those who are used to it. A few less brush strokes used to create the final piece of artwork might have allowed for an easier relationship with the book as a whole, but there's no denying Ms. Rose's writing skill or her creative ability.
GIVEAWAYThanks to TLC Book Tours and M. J. Rose I have one copy of The Hypnotist to give away to a lucky commenter today! To enter, please just leave a comment with a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only and will run through midnight EST on Friday, June 24th after which time a winner will be chosen and announced on the blog. Good luck everyone!