It’s a Mystery: The Hypnotist, by M.J. Rose

3.0 out of 5 stars The nature of coincidence

One of NYC’s foremost museums is subject to yet another terrorist plot in The Hypnotist. The Met owns an ancient sculpture of Hypnos, the Iranian god of sleep, and the government of Iran wants it back. But the Met claims Hypnos was acquired legally, and rejects Iran’s claim. There is yet another party that desperately wants the statue, the reincarnationist Malachai Samuels, the word renowned director of the Phoenix Foundation, a century old transcendentalist society now specializing in past life regressions. Samuels has long been suspected of illegal activities in his quest for exotic “memory tools”, and is under the surveillance of the FBI.

The plot of this novel is anything but simple, with its vandalized paintings, stolen masterpieces, blackmail attempts, Iranian thugs, and a variety of characters who are undergoing their own previous life memories. Complicating the investigation for FBI Agent Lucian Glass is his romance with with the young cousin of his deceased soulmate, whom he suspects may actually be the reincarnation of his lost love. Past and present become inextricably entwined, sometimes in overwrought, melodramatic ways.

Author Rose weaves together a number of themes. One is the belief that there are no coincidences. Another is the question of who really owns works of art. And finally, she presents the concept of reincarnation as reality. It isn’t necessary for the reader to believe that proposition, but it probably would help if one did.

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