‘The Hypnotist’

The Book Worm

By Terri Schlichenmeyer


That’s all it took — a finger snap — for several volunteer participants to go slack in their seats. Were they really under the host’s spell? Didn’t matter, the show was pretty funny anyhow. To the delight of the rest of the audience, the volunteers acted as if they were driving cars, dancing in a nightclub, stopping a robbery. The host had them doing all sorts of crazy things, and none of them remembered anything when he … Snapped.

Have you ever been hypnotized? Lucian Glass was, and in the new novel “The Hypnotist” by M.J. Rose, Lucian’s session revealed secrets from long ago that could unravel a string of murders.

Buried underground for centuries, the sculpture’s appearance wasn’t impressive: Worn, gray and battered, many of the precious stones that once adorned it were nearly gone. But considering that it had been crafted of wood by Phokians in the mid-fourth century, the chryselephantine sculpture of the God Hypnos was in excellent shape.

The question was where Hypnos had come from. A generous benefactor had bequeathed the statue to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art decades ago, and it had recently been rediscovered in an underground crate. But its route to America was muddied and several countries — including Iran — claimed that Hypnos had been illegally smuggled to the U.S. over a century ago. Each was demanding return of the statue, but the Met wasn’t budging.

For their part, the Iranian government didn’t just want the statue because of their cultural heritage. Rumor had it that Hypnos was a vessel for Memory Tools, ancient flotsam that, together, allowed humans to travel in time and control the minds of others. The Iranians wanted the power that Hypnos would give them.

But they weren’t the only ones. Dr. Malachai Samuels also knew about the Memory Tools, and as the director of the Phoenix Foundation and as a student of past life study, Samuels fully understood what the tools could do for him.

But wherever Samuels went, somebody died, and Agent Lucian Glass needed to stop it. He’d been hunting Samuels for years, but finding him wasn’t Lucian’s only focus. When he was 19 years old, Lucian’s first love had been killed, presumably over a Matisse painting. Could a past life help him solve two modern crimes?

Aside from the fact that there are way more characters than there probably needed to be, “The Hypnotist” is quite mesmerizing and thrilling.

Rose spins a tale that spans many centuries and bounces from ancient Greece to Persia to France and America. Reincarnation theorists will love the way she weaves several past-life suppositions into her story, and even skeptics will be intrigued by the (maybe?) fictional possibilities.

Despite that I was occasionally confused by the “too many characters” problem, I enjoyed the complexity of the plot and if you’ve read the other Reincarnationist book, you will, too. Fans, believers and art lovers will want to grab “The Hypnotist” … in a snap.

Terri Schlichenmeyer collects books, tigers, trivia and book bags. She has also been accused of collecting dust now and then.

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