Monday, June 13, 2011

The Hypnotist by M.J. Rose

Title: The Hypnotist
Author: M.J. Rose

Genre: Fiction (Contemporary / Historical / Paranormal)
Publisher/Publication Date: Mira (4/19/2011)
Source: TLC Book Tours

Rating: Okay.
Did I finish?: Yes.
One-sentence summary: A statue with immense possibilities is the catalyst for theft, murder, revenge, hope, and love.
Reading Challenges: E-books

Do I like the cover?: Eh -- it's got that ambigu-thriller thing going on but I would have liked something that referenced the iconic elements of the novel.

I'm reminded of...: Paulo Coelho, Michael Crichton

First line: Time played tricks on him whenever he stood in front of the easel.

Did... I easily get into this book despite it being the third in the series?: YES. The common thread is the search for historical items to enable easy access to one's past lives, and Rose references events from the previous two novels well enough that I didn't feel lost in the slightest.

Did... I totally desperately want to see the art and exhibits Rose describes?: YES. She has a lovely way of conveying art, even pieces unfamiliar to me, in a way I felt I could 'see' what the characters were seeing.

Is... M.J. Rose's blog a totally fascinating time suck?: YES.  One visit, and I was hooked.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow.

Why did I get this book?: Reincarnation + art!

Review: This, to me, was a perfect summertime escapist read: exciting settings, a large cast of easy to remember characters, some improbable plot twists, and a bit of romance.  Set (mostly) in New York City, the story follows a number of characters including Lucian, an agent with the FBI's Art Crime Team who witnessed his girlfriend's murder twenty years ago; Emeline, a young woman who may or may not be a reincarnation of that girlfriend; Samimi, an Iranian man tasked with recovering (or stealing) a sculpture of immense importance; and Dr. Malachai Samuels, a past-life researcher desperate to locate 'Memory Tools', artifacts thought to assist in accessing past life memories.

Although this is the third book in M.J. Rose's Reincarnationist series, I had no problem getting into the story and understanding the plot and premise.  The story moves at a very brisk pace and I could easily race through  the chapters; the characters are pretty notable; and the reincarnation element was a great twist on the standard crime thriller.  There were a lot of coincidences I usually hate in these types of thrillers, but given that the characters are connected by their past lives, I was willing to forgive that to see where the story would go.

I do have to confess, however, I was disappointed that among the major criminal factions in the novel were Iranian Muslims.  Given the Islamophobia in the US, I find it dangerous to feature Muslims as criminals (and worse, pointedly as 'terrorists' at one point) and it ultimately took away some of my enjoyment of the story.  (I rather wish Rose had invented a country to feature as the historical home of the sought-after statue, perhaps.)

My quibble aside, in the end this was the kind of novel I can understand being described as a 'romp': it's just straight-up fun.  For folks in the market for an entertaining series to become addicted to, this might be it.

*** *** ***

GIVEAWAY!  M.J. Rose has generously offered to giveaway a copy of The Hypnotist, either paperback or e-book, to one lucky reader!  US/CA readers can win either the paperback or e-book; international readers can win the e-book.  To enter, simply comment with your email address and your choice of book format.  Ends July 8th.  


  1. I do not think I have said it before but I really like your review style :D

    Anyway, I have read book 1 :)

  2. No need to enter me in the giveaway. Simply wanted to say that I appreciate the review. This is a series I knew I had been undecided about trying, but had forgotten why. Prompted by your post I visted Rose's site and discovered that each of the books apparently deals with some element of terrorism. It is such a trendy but fraught subject that I tend to pass on the books, wary of glibness.

    By the way, is there a particular reason you chose the third book in the series instead of the first?

  3. I won this book in a giveaway a few months ago and haven't gotten the chance to read it yet. I think I am actually going to go back and buy the first two books and give them a read before I strike out into this one. Great review by the way. I think the books sound very interesting.

  4. @Blodeuedd: Aww, thank you! I appreciate it. Did you like the first book?

    @Danielle: I was offered the chance to review this book and said yes before I realized it was the third in the series. I even got books one and two from the library but they're all quite thick (400+ pages), so I decided to forgo 'catch up' and just dive right in.

    I hadn't realized the other two books have some element of terrorism -- probably better I passed on them then as I get tetchy abt that kind of thing!

  5. Hmm, I agree with your take on the covers. I don't know if I'm ready to dive into another series of books (good heavens, I have a lot already on the shelf), but this one sounds quick and entertaining, at least! I also don't know how I feel about the Muslim terrorists. In a way, I feel like it's reverse racism to always try to portray a "group" of people in the way opposite their stereotype, but at the same time, I don't like people always following the stereotype line.

  6. I really enjoyed this and the second book. I have to find time to read the first in this series. The muslin thing didn't bother me because there are good and bad people in every culture/religion. And unfortunately, the middle east, etc. is where many of the ancient artifacts are likely to be.

  7. I would like to read this book. I am curious about it. Hope that some readers done generalize about Muslims. Have you ever noticed that long ago, the Russians were are enemies in the movies and now it is either the middle easterners
    or the Chinese?


  8. Love the review! I have heard really great things about this book and would love to read it!

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

  9. Sounds great! Would love to win the paperback


  10. I have read so many reviews of this book and would like to win a paperback.
    A super giveaway.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

  11. I've heard good things about this book. I'd be happy with either format. If ebook, I prefer Kindle format. Thanks!


  12. Sometime an entertaining romp of a series is exactly what I want to read!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  13. Marvelous review! Reincarnation and art! Love the sound of it, though I suspect I will read it at the computer so I can look at objects mentioned. I did this when reading the Da Vince Code and it added sooo much more to my enjoyment.


    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  14. Great review! You really make me want to read this book :)
    I would like the paperback book but if necessary, I do have a Kindle.
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  15. I've seen this book before and I'm still curious to read it.

    epub for Nook

    Thanks :)

    deb at debatkinson dot com

  16. Got so carried away with MJ Rose's blog, I almost forgot to come back and enter the giveaway. Count me in, for the paperback, please.


  17. I read the first two books in the series, so I'm looking forward to reading this one at some point. No need to enter me, as I already have the book. Just need to dust it off and read it!

  18. I have read some awesome reviews of this book and I would love to win a paperback.

    Amazing giveaway

  19. I haven't read any books by this author yet, but I know she receives lots of positive reviews. I think this novel sounds like a good one to begin with. It's nice to have something just plain fun to read in between some of the more heavy-duty books I enjoy. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

  20. here's my obligatory comment so I can be entered in these fantastic drawings of yours!

  21. Great giveaway! Love the review - I really really want to read this book.

  22. thanks for the chance to read this mystery :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  23. I really like the sound of reincarnation and art.