The Hypnotist (Reincarnationist #3)
by M.J. Rose
Mira Books (2010)
When it comes to the thriller genre, I'm not often entertained. I've tried reading a couple of Dan Brown novels and couldn't get beyond the first fifty pages or so. And while I finished a Robert Ludlum novel a few years back, anything in it that didn't involve a gun fight or brawl disappointed me to no end. I did manage to find enjoyment recently in Layton Green's The Summoner, which offered a little bit of supernatural atmosphere into the plot, so when approached to review this thriller/mystery with an exploration into the past lives phenomenon, I figured I'd give it a chance.
The book is the third in a series, so I was at a bit of a disadvantage as a reader, but the necessary bits of backstory were laid out pretty well through the novel so I didn't feel lost at all as I read along.
Lucian Glass is an FBI agent and member of the Art Crimes unit, called in to investigate the theft and subsequent destruction of a Matisse painting, an act followed by a threat that more priceless--and stolen--paintings will be destroyed unless a coveted sculpture is given up by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From this point, Lucian is swept up in a sweeping mystery that has him trying to find the culprits behind the blackmail, thefts, and threat of terrorist action, as the massive sculpture of Hypnos is coveted by multiple parties. On top of that, Lucian is haunted by a slain lover from years past, whom he sees in the eyes of another, a woman who may be the reincarnation of his lover, or a simply using Lucian's past as a way to manipulate him for her own gains.
The book had a good flow going through it, despite a plethora of characters and shifting points of view in chapters so short I barely had to turn a page before a new one began. Short chapters do well to give the feeling of a taut pace, but points of view shifted so suddenly at times, it felt a bit jarring. The characters are well crafted and most come off in believable fashion as they maneuver through an unbelievable plot. The end gradually ramps up and finishes off with a satisfying end, but as a reader who hadn't read those first two books, despite each one being a stand alone novel, I felt a bit out of place when the dust had settled because any ground rules established in the first two books were a bit foreign to me.
It's one of the better thrillers of this nature that I've read yet, and anyone who has walked away disappointed by the biggest names in the genre before may want to check this one out, especially since the past lives aspects of the novel fit more seamlessly into the novel than other fantastical contrivances I've seen in similar books. I can't say it's a favorite of mine, but this book has helped me to seeing that I should give more of MJ Rose's work a chance down the line.