A friendly review from Booking Mama:

Summary: A bomb in Rome, a flash of bluish-white light, and photojournalist Josh Ryder’s world exploded. From that instant nothing would ever be the same.

As Josh recovers, his mind is increasingly invaded with thoughts that have the emotion, the intensity, the intimacy of memories. But they are not his memories. They are ancient—and violent. A battery of medical and psychological tests can’t explain Josh’s baffling symptoms. And the memories have an urgency he can’t ignore—pulling him to save a woman named Sabina—and the treasures she is protecting.

But who is Sabina?

Desperate for answers, Josh turns to the world-renowned Phoenix Foundation—a research facility that scientifically documents cases of past life experiences. His findings there lead him to an archaeological dig and to Professor Gabriella Chase, who has discovered an ancient tomb—a tomb with a powerful secret that threatens to merge the past with the present. Here, the dead call out to the living, and murders of the past become murders of the present. — Mira Books

A few months ago, I was contacted by M.J. Rose asking if I would be interested in reading her latest novel THE REINCARNATIONIST. (On top of that, she graciously offered to do an interview with me and speak with my book club.) Of course, I jumped at the opportunity! I had seen this book on many websites; and it was also selected as a Booksense Pick Highlight of 2007. While I didn’t get around to reading it right when it first came out, my sister did; and she actually recommended it to me as a book that I should read.

I hate to even put this is writing, but my sister was right. I really enjoyed reading THE REINCARNATIONIST! I was a little worried that a book about reincarnation could very easily become a little too “out there” for me, but I have to say that wasn’t a problem with this story. I thought the plot of the book was intriguing, and the story was fast-paced and held my interest the entire time. I thoroughly liked the characters of Josh and Gabriella, and I think that part of the reason that I was drawn into their story was because I cared about what happened to them.

This book is definitely full of suspense — there were a few plot twists and turns in this story as well as a mystery or two. While I pretty much figured out who the “bad guy” was about half way through the book, I don’t think it affected my enjoyment of the novel. One of the main reasons that I wasn’t disappointed with knowing that part of the story was that there was another big surprise at the end of the book that really shocked me! (That’s all I can say without spoiling the ending.)

I found Ms. Rose’s writing style to be very easy to read. Her dialogue between the characters seemed natural, and her desciptions were very vivid. It is apparent that she did a great deal of research on many topics including ancient Rome, archaeology, and reincarnation. I thought she did a wonderful job of incorporating all this knowledge into the story. While I’m not sure exactly how I feel about reincarnation (except to say that I don’t rule it out), Ms. Rose made the aspects of the story pertaining to reincarnation very believable. At the very least, I think she definitely leaves the reader considering the possibility of reincarnation.

If you think you might be interesting in reading this book, you can read an excerpt here. There are also discussion questions available if you are considering this for your book club pick. I personally can’t wait to talk about THE REINCARNATIONIST with my friends and get their opinions on the subject matter. In addition to her website which features the book, Ms. Rose has another website devoted entirely to the reincarnation. I spent a little time browsing around on it, and there are lots of interesting concepts and stories.

Stay tuned for more about THE REINCARNATIONIST. I will be posting an interview with M.J. Rose tomorrow as well as a wrap up of our author chat/book club meeting in the very near future.