THE HYPNOTIST is a full-length novel for a YA and Adult readership; published by Penguin Random House.


‘A historical thriller about issues that resonate profoundly in the present day.’ 


Since publication in October 2016 The Hypnotist has received numerous awards and rave reviews. The Hypnotist was the overall winner of the prestigious Historical Association Young Quills Award and is officially endorsed by Amnesty International.


Set in the Deep South of America in 1963, this is a powerful story about race, love and the dreaded Ku Klux Klan.


Some reviews of


"The Hypnotist explores what it is to be kind, to be curious, to love and to express yourself – to be human, in other words - in the face of intense racial and sexual bigotry, cruelty and violence. It’s a passionate, important novel" (Amnesty International)


"Full of suspense and heartbreak, this is a powerful account of survival amid irrational, omnipresent hatred" (Guardian)


"A beautifully written story . . . it's hard to believe this is Anholt's first full-length novel . . . I can't wait to check out his next offering!" (Scottish Book Trust)


"I was absolutely gripped: compelling storytelling with a powerful anti-racist message" (The Bookseller)


"Portray[s] a stunningly accurate historical picture of the American South in the 60’s. A fascinating tale told with confidence" (Askeys & Holts Children's Newsletter)


"A highly impressive first novel by Laurence Anholt . . . every reader will be swept into this highly visual world and the drama that develops within it" (Achuka)


"A thought provoking read perfect for book groups from teenage to adult" (Evening Post)


"The Hypnotist unfolds steadily and beautifully, ramping up the fear, tension and hope faced by young black men in 1960s America … filled with heart and history that shocks and educates, but ultimately leaves you believing that, even in the most brutal and unstable environments, however alone you might think you are, there’s still kindness to be discovered" (Press Association, Children’s Book of the Week)


"This fascinating hybrid of paranormal and historical fiction follows Jack, an Irish neurologist with secret hypnotic skills and Pip, a young black farmhand. The pair’s lives merge when Jack relocates to the American South and must face the realities of racial tension as well as come to terms with his own strange powers" (, 28 YA Books Everyone Should Read)


"A compelling read . . . a wonderful blend of kitchen sink realism, accurate historical detail and an atmospheric dollop of magical realism . . . it draws you in from the first page and keeps your attention until the last" ( 28 YA Books You Have To Read: No 6 The Hypnotist

“Fascinating hybrid of paranormal and historical fiction…”





Jack Morrow has left his native Ireland and is making a new life as Professor of Neurology at a university in the American South. He has certain skills, honed over his lifetime, that he mostly keeps hidden. Skills in hypnotism and mind control . . .

Thirteen-year-old Pip is plucked out of an orphanage by a farmer, hired as a farm-hand, and as carer for the farmer's wife. But Pip is black. The farmer and his wife are white. And this is 1960s America, where race defines you and overshadows everything.


Emotions are heightened further as Jack meets and falls in love with a seemingly mute, Native American girl named Hannah, a talented singer who expresses herself only through the beautiful lyrics of her songs.


As racial tensions reach boiling point with a danger closer to home and more terrifying than either thought possible, Jack, Pip and Hannah's lives become inextricably linked. And Jack's hypnotic skills are called on as never before . . .


Laurence talks about his extraordinary family history on BBC Radio 4 first broadcast on 24th August 2016.

In many ways, his family’s tale of prejudice and alienation was the inspiration behind THE HYPNOTIST – as explained in the Author’s Note at the back of the book.