Ridiculous title aside, M.J. Rose’s The Reincarnationist is a fairly entertaining thriller, in the style of Dan Brown. This story follows photojournalist Josh Ryder, months after he began having past life experiences come through to his present. These occurrences have lost him his wife, and have caused him to seek out help from the Phoenix Foundation, a group who researches reincarnation. A tomb has been recently bee opened in Rome, and so Josh goes to explore the site’s significance to past-life research, soon finding he has a personal past-life connection to Rome and this tomb. Inside the tomb are stones that may prove the existence of reincarnation and threaten the foundations of the church. So sets off a plot of murder and thievery, kidnapping and exploration, past and present. The story is told as Josh falls in and out of his past life as Julius, an pagan priest. There is a little romance thrown in for good measure as well.
I enjoyed the premise of the book. While not a believer in reincarnation myself, the book was sufficiently suspenseful for me to ignore my disbelief. However, besides Josh, I did not feel attached to the characters. I thought their decisions too predictable, and that they were overall a bit two-dimensional. I also didn’t feel as propelled through the story as I have with Dan Brown novels, the chapters here are longer and more meandering. Finally, I didn’t feel there was a strong resolution to the story, with our questions answered and the “bad guys” revealed. But perhaps that is were the sequel comes in, Rose’s The Memorist.
And on a side note, Fox has decided to turn The Reincarnationist premise into a TV show, I think beginning next fall!