A sensually evocative thriller that satisfies and arouses.
Eric Foster is one of the most perceptive and creative “noses” in the perfume industry. His future looks and smells bright. While a student at the most prestigious perfume academy in France, Eric recreates, against the admonishments of his professor, a long-lost fragrance said to have been used by the queen of Sheba to lure a reluctant King Solomon to her bed. This aphrodisiacal perfume, Balquees, contains a rare ingredient, the acquisition of which gets Eric expelled. Cast out by his mentors and abandoning his project, Eric rebuilds his life in New York by moonlighting as a scent-based forensics consultant (paired with his trusty three-legged bloodhound, Daisy) to the NYPD. When a counterfeit version of Balquees, called SF, begins to wreak havoc by driving would-be lovers to kill each other in extreme bouts of lust, the police have an obvious suspect. Eric, who would never hurt anyone (or produce such an inferior product), races to clear his name and discovers that his friends and colleagues may not be as professional—or innocent—as they appear. Working side by side with the sardonic, emotionally wounded forensics expert Tanya, Eric is thrown into a series of increasingly violent incidents, the culmination of which forces him to face his disgraced past. Oehler is marvelously versed in the intricacies of perfume manufacturing and history; luckily for the reader, he’s also a compelling writer. In particular, the convincing sex scenes flow with the right balance of graphic language and tastefulness. Readers will come away with a new appreciation for all those sparkling bottles of fragrance and maybe even an understanding for their extraordinary price tags.
A brilliant, engaging twist on the traditional crime novel.