We're excited to share our review of THE HYPNOTIST by Gordon Snider for TLC Book Tours!
About The Hypnotist• Paperback: 324 pages
• Publisher: Helm Publishing (August 3, 2009)
In 1906, San Francisco has reached the peak of its golden age. Fortunes have created a society that attracts European opera singers and cordon bleu chefs. It is a world defined by elegant balls, oysters, and champagne. But there are darker sides to the city as well. The Mission district south of Market Street houses tenements where shanties huddle together and rats plague the streets. And nearby sits Chinatown, an endless warren of dark alleys that offers gambling, prostitution, and opium, all controlled by vicious gangs, called tongs.
Into these disparate worlds steps Marta Baldwin, a young woman who has shunned her own social background to help the poor. She is confronted by a hypnotist, a man who hypnotizes young women from the tenements and delivers them to the tongs in Chinatown to work in their brothels. Marta escapes his hypnotic trance, but when her assistant, Missy, disappears, Marta realizes she has been taken by the evil man who confronted her. She seeks the help of Byron Wagner, one of San Francisco's most prominent citizens. Marta finds herself drawn to Byron but knows his high social standing prevents any possibility of a relationship between them. This is confirmed when Marta discovers Byron having an intimate conversation with Lillie Collins, the daughter of one of the city's most elite families. Marta is flushed with jealousy. However, Lillie defies social customs, and her rebellious nature fits naturally with Marta's. Despite her envy, the two women become close friends. Marta is caught up in a whirlwind of opulent balls, opium dens and brothels, and police raids in Chinatown. She cannot deny her feelings for Byron, but she must save Missy and protect her new friends from harm...
For lurking in the background is the hypnotist. He has become obsessed with Marta and will use all his guile to ensnare her. When he threatens those she loves, Marta is determined to stop him, even at her own peril. Will her boldness entrap her? If so, how can she hope to escape the man's hypnotic embrace?
Then the earth trembles, and Marta's world will never be the same.
Cove Member Robin Reviews!
Something evil is preying on young women on the streets of San Francisco in 1906. The missing women are poor, and if they have any family they do not report them to the police but rather assume that they are runaways. The women seem to disappear without a trace; there are no signs of a struggle or any witnesses.
Marta Baldwin, a young woman with social status has set up a business, using her inheritance, to help the poor. On one of her trips to visit her clients, she has a very odd and unexplainable experience. She runs into a very odd man wearing a ring with a very distinctive jewel. Her gaze is locked on the man and the ring and she is drawn into a fugue-like state in which she feels like she is drowning, but for some reason unbeknownst to her or the man trying to take her hostage, she is able to break out of the spell and avoids disaster. Marta begins to piece things together what is happening when Missy, her employee, tells her about the missing girls and the mysterious man who is capturing them with his “spells.” Marta believes that the predator is hypnotizing the young women, and that she was one of his targets.
When Missy goes missing, Marta knows that The Hypnotist has taken Missy because of his failed attempt with her. In order to save Missy, Marta has to learn about the art of hypnosis and the tongs in Chinatown. She also has to set herself up as a target on the seedier side of San Francisco. The Hypnotist has never failed to deliver his targets to his clients and Marta is in grave danger, as his rage becomes a mad obsession to “get the one that got away.”
The Hypnotist is a spine-tinglingly creepy historical thriller. The author draws the reader back in time to the 1900’s in San Francisco and vividly renders the sharp contrasts between the “haves and have nots” and the stark inequality between men and women during that timeframe.
The characters in The Hypnotist are well developed. The author shifts to first person to allow the reader to get into the mindset of The Hypnotist and he is a seriously twisted, psychotic and dangerous character on par with Steven King’s creepier protagonists. The author has created his own form of hypnosis with his richly written novel, and captures the reader under his spell from the first page. This book is a hauntingly good read that was just too good to put down.
When he moved to California’s Central Coast in 1999, he began writing fiction. The Origamist is his fifth novel and a sequel to his third, The Hypnotist, a very popular historical thriller that is set in San Francisco in 1906. The other novels include: Sigourney’s Quest, an adventure story about a woman’s harrowing journey across Tibet; The Separatist, a mystery/suspense novel set in modern San Francisco; and Venice Lost, an adventure/fantasy about a man who becomes lost in time in Venice, Italy.
Gordon has lived in California nearly his entire life. Home has ranged from Los Angeles to San Francisco, with stops in Santa Barbara and Pismo Beach. Currently, he and his wife, Fe, enjoy walking the beaches and observing the migrating whales from their home in Pismo Beach. It is, he says, the perfect setting for creative writing.
Find out more about Gordon and his books on his website.