Synopsis: 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.
My thoughts: The front cover says "The Hypnotist: A Novel of Suspense" and it definitely delivers in the suspense department. It took me about 40 pages to get into the book (and I think this is due more to the relatively short chapters which I wasn't used to) but it really clicked for me when we meet the crazy as he calmly evaluates which masterpiece he will utterly destroy to begin his game of cat and mouse with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the FBI. As an art lover, I cringed reading this part.
Glass is the FBI's man when it comes to these types of crimes and when it becomes clear that the situation with the painting may be tied to the Phoenix Foundation and it's Co-Director Malachai Samuels, a firm believer in reincarnation who is obsessed with seeking out ancient "memory tools" that may unlock the key to past lives. Glass goes undercover at the Foundation as a patient of one doctors there who specializes in past life memory recovery through hypnotism. Although at first it is just part of the assignment, Lucien accesses memories from past lives in Greece and Persia which he realizes may be the key to stopping the reoccurring dreams of women he doesn't recognize that keeps him up at night.
If all that sounds rather intricate, that is because it is. There is a lot going on in this book and I found myself asking tons of questions throughout. Who murdered Lucian's girlfriend all those years ago and why? Who are these women he keeps dreaming about? Why is the ancient Hypnos statue that everyone is after so important? Is reincarnation real? The good thing is, M.J. Rose keeps you guessing throughout and even though the storyline gets quite involved it doesn't get confusing and the conclusion (and finding the answers to the zillions of questions you'll be asking yourself) is definitely worth the ride. Although this is the third in the series, it is the first one I have read but reading the series out of order didn't present any problems. I didn't feel I was lacking any information from the first two that held me up while reading this one. I own the first two books (The Memorist and The Reincarnationist) and will definitely be getting to both of them soon. Recommend this to those who love thrillers with a bit of history thrown in.
Just wanted to mention I am hosting a giveaway for this book. It is open to the US/CAN. You can enter HERE til midnight on the 11th.
Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. These are my honest thoughts on the book. Click the link to see the schedule for the rest of the tour which includes giveaways, more reviews, and guest posts/interviews with MJ Rose.