Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Hypnotist by M.J. Rose

Summary: (from publisher): THE HYPNOTIST (Mira Books), is international bestselling author M.J. Rose’s 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 Reincarnationist novels, The Reincarnationist and The Memorist.

Haunted by the 20-year-old murder of his lover – a beautiful young painter – Lucian Glass keeps his dark memories at bay by focusing on his work as a special agent with the FBI’s Art Crime Team. Currently investigating a crazed art collector destroying priceless masterpieces, Glass is thrust into a bizarre hostage negotiation that takes him undercover at the Phoenix Foundation. 

Under hypnosis Glass travels from ancient Greece to nineteenth-century Persia, while the case takes him to New York, Paris and the movie capital of the world. These combined journeys will shatter his understanding of reality, force him to question his 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.

And here's what I thought:  I hadn't read either of the two previous Reincartionist novels, so I hoped that wouldn't leave me wondering what was going on when I picked up this book.   I soon realized that I had nothing to worry about.  The story begins with a great first sentence (to me, always a sign that good things are to come): "Time played tricks on him whenever he stood in front of the easel."  Lucian Glass is being introduced here, and it's clear that the author is giving us some important information about him that will come to light later in the book.
This is something the author did continuously through the story: give a little bit of information about someone (or something), and then go back into the story, only to return with another little bit of information.   It was like the author dropped little hints along the way, little pieces of a puzzle for a reader to put together -- to see how cleverly each bit linked into each other to make a clear picture at the end.   I really enjoyed this, as it kept the pacing very taut, like a good thriller.   The dialogue was well-written and characters rounded out, sometimes bit by bit, so I kept turning the pages, just to see what was going to happen, and what would be revealed next.   

The elements of both the art theft and the reincarnation lent an interesting flavor to this story.  Rose has an extremely descriptive writing style, and I felt like I could really see the paintings, and the sculpture.   I also felt like I really could get a clear picture of the different characters in my head.   Let's give an example of that writing, shall we?  How about: "Her eyes were a fiery amber color, like honey made from electrified bees."  (p. 118).     The elements about reincarnation were also fascinating.  Rose adds details about different theories of reincarnation, as well as methods of hypnotism -- kind of like a little snip of nonfiction woven into the fiction here, which I enjoyed.   The past-life regression of some characters also gave the story a completely different twist, as you'd have your previous knowledge of the character, and their motivations, now braided into their past-life, and how that might be influencing who they were at the present.

This might sound a little complicated, but I didn't really find it that way at all.  I got caught up in this story straight away, and before I knew it, was plowing through this book because I just needed to know what was going to happen next.    The fact that there were real elements in this story, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and some of the other settings, really made the story even better for me.   I once visited that museum, and actually, over this last weekend, visited the Art Institute in Chicago, so the timing of reading this book was perfect.    If you enjoy books such as The Da Vinci Code, where there are real elements mixed into the fiction, and the pacing is quick, you'll most likely really enjoy this book, as well.    I plan on going to the library and finding the previous 2 books, just because I liked this one so much. 

Where I got this book:  I received this book from the publisher, in exchange for a review, which I was very happy to provide. 


Amanda Makepeace said...

Great review! It's uncanny how you end up reviewing a book I've only just put on my TBR list! :D

WonderBunny said...

I have this book waiting for me to read. I've read the first one and enjoyed it. I think they are stand alone books with a common theme which is nice. I get tired of endless series.

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