* Perfume meets The Silence of the Lamb
* Official “Shoot the Book” Selection at Cannes
Crime scene cleaner Eve likes to work alone because the scent of death is the only thing that restores her lost sense of smell. When her actions unwittingly land her as the prime suspect in a murder case, she must do everything she can to find the killer and clear her name, even if it means enlisting the aid of a serial killer, and becoming something less than human herself.
Crime scene cleaner Eve used to be a “super smeller”, that is, someone with an extremely sensitive sense of smell. All of that changed with the death of her brother, when she lost the ability to distinguish odors – except when triggered by the scent of death. Afterwards, she took to visiting crime scenes alone to try to stimulate the return of her olfactory super-powers.
When Eve’s office receives a call for a suicide clean-up, they are temporarily understaffed, so Eve decides to handle the case alone. What she doesn’t realize is the suicide was actually a murder, and her clean-up job destroys all evidence at the crime scene, leaving her as the prime suspect.
Now, Eve must prove her innocence by tracking down the murderer, and her only clue is the scent of a vaguely familiar perfume. Desperate to clear her name, Eve contacts a notorious serial killer, hoping to gain insight into the mind of a psychopath, but even that might not be enough to uncover the motive, and the culprit – to hunt down a monster, Eve will have to become a monster herself.
The astonishingly confident debut novel from screenwriter Katniss Hsiao, Before We Were Monsters can only be described as “cinematic” in its deft construction of visual detail, narrative arc, and pacing. Chock-a-block with surprise twists and creeping tension, this dark and searing crime thriller is a crossover hit that never scrimps on literary style.