Follow Here To Purchase The Hypnotist

Author: Gordon Snider

Publisher: Helm Publishing

ISBN 978-0-9841397-3-6

In The Hypnotist, author Gordon Snider vividly recreates turn of the century San Fransisco , both the glittering splendor of its  high society life and the darkness and squalor of its mean streets.  Caught between these two worlds is Marta Baldwin, a remarkable young woman fighting to overcome social prejudices as she struggles to run a small charity for under privileged women. Despite her intelligence and business acumen, she is helpless  to stop her brother from squandering the family fortune and is routinely  the object of snobbery and chauvinism from her peers. 

Her life takes a dangerous turn when she comes face to face with a formidable enemy – a powerful hypnotist luring young women off the streets and into drug dependency and prostitution. Working for the tongs, the ruthless gang lords  running Chinatown, the hypnotist is a shadowy figure, who becomes obsessed with Marta once he realizes she is immune to his powers. He begins preying on her fears, targeting women close to her and even abducting a young employee of the charity.   But when he finally kidnaps Marta, greater events unfold and, in the wake of the destruction that follows, Marta finds herself alone, single handedly fighting to save herself from the evil man.

The Hypnotist is a page turner, at once a sinister mystery and a compelling portrait of a woman’s fight for independence. Author Snider writes believable, well rounded characters ; I especially liked the strong women he peoples this book with.  By contrast, the men in the novel, with the exception of dashing Byron Wagner, appear far less attractive ; at one point in the story, Marta even discovers similarities between her unscrupulous brother and the hypnotist. The narrative smoothly alternates between Marta’s story and the hypnotist’s– the contrast between his insane ramblings and her tentative first steps towards love and independence was very interesting and kept me glued to the book. The plot even takes an unexpected turn towards the end, weaving in an actual historical event into the story.

Snider has a gift for atmosphere; page after page brings the cobbled streets and claustrophobic high society parties to life, recreates the warrens, opium dens and derelict tenements of Chinatown. The Hypnotist reminded me of the Sally Lockhart mysteries by Philip Pullman, a series of novels about a resilient young woman proving her worth in Victorian London, a society very similar to Marta’s San Fransisco.

Follow Here To Purchase The Hypnotist