Aphrodesia centers on perfumes and is a story of passion, greed, betrayal, and revenge.


Aphrodesia Summary

Great perfumes have always had one purpose — to seduce.  Today, as in the past, a true aphrodisiac is the Holy Grail of the perfumer’s art.

Eric Foster, a student at the top perfume school in France, creates a scent based on the fragrance the Queen of Sheba wore to seduce King Solomon.  The result is an aphrodisiac of astonishing potency.  When he tests it surreptitiously at a gathering of glitterati in the Panthéon in Paris, its effects on both men and women exceed his wildest hopes.

Eric sees fame and fortune on his horizon.  But the school’s sample of Yemeni oud, a rare ingredient critical to his creation, has disappeared.  The school blames Eric and expels him.

Eric now slogs through a mind-numbing job with a New York manufacturer of fragrance additives for supermarket products.  His one pleasure comes from moonlighting as a forensic scent expert for the NYPD.   Police call in Eric when a perfume named SF surfaces as the only link in a series of passion-driven homicides.  He instantly recognizes SF as a knockoff of his aphrodisiac.  And just as quickly he becomes the prime suspect, facing a charge of serial murder.

But his aphrodisiac never harmed anyone.  Whoever is behind SF not only stole his formula, but also corrupted it.  With a sickening sense of betrayal, he realizes it can only be someone he knew at the school and trusted.

To make matters worse, SF has gained a cult following around the world.  While bloggers rave about the ecstasy they experience, accounts keep trickling in of some people so fiercely consumed by sexual frenzy they can’t help killing their lovers.

Desperate to stop the deaths and prove his innocence, Eric sets out to find the counterfeiter, a person shrouded behind layers of deception.  Eric’s hunt takes him from New York to Yemen and France.  Yet the closer he gets to the truth, the more viciously his adversary tries to stop him.  In this uneven battle, Eric’s one advantage is his extraordinary sense of smell.

Aphrodesia Book Trailer:  Aphrodisia Final Mix med res

Aphrodesia Reviews

Kirkus Reviews: “A sensually evocative thriller that satisfies and arouses. … 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. … A brilliant, engaging twist on the traditional crime novel.”
Read the full Kirkus review here

Publishers Weekly: “This modern day mystery has it all -- deceit, murder, revenge … sexual frenzy”

"Occasionally, there will be a story with a theme so unique, its subject matter so brilliantly researched, and the writing so crisp, that the story literally sings. APHRODESIA is such a story. … An outstanding read."

Robert Vaughan, Writers Hall of Fame

Amazon Customer Reviews

“Aphrodesia will fulfill all your desires. It's been awhile since I read anything that kept me awake at night just because I wanted to keep reading, but Aphrodesia kept me up, wanting more.”

“Rare Blend with Notes of Brilliance. Not many authors can combine a white-knuckle race across the globe with a detailed knowledge of the perfume industry...but in Aphrodesia you'll find thrills, chills, and come away knowing so much more than when you started. Don't be fooled, this novel might be shelved with "The Da Vinci Code" or even "Fifty Shades of Grey," but in addition to a really kick-ass story, you'll get the bonus of some truly masterful writing. The kind that doesn't draw attention to itself, but is elegant and descriptive and (frankly) enviable. Orgies, love, betrayal, prison, death...this book has it all, as well as scenes from around the world. I want to see the film based on this one!”

“An erotic rollercoaster. This book is not only a page turner, it's a work of art, right up there with writers like Dennis Lehane. Plus, it's sexy as hell.”

“What a page-turner. The story kept me in suspense the whole time. The only problem for me was that it was too intense for me to read before bed. … the sex scenes were extremely erotic!”

“Sex, Death and Perfume. From the village of Versailles, France, to the back streets of NYC, APHRODESIA grabs at all your senses. A real page-turner. I couldn't put it down.”

“The Seduction of King Solomon, and Us. … an engaging insight into the arcane world of the perfume industry ... exploring simple and complex personalities … weighing sexual ecstasy against risk and danger ... an invitation to soul-search ... would I or wouldn't I?”

“Suspenseful, evocative, sexy. I don't usually read crime/suspense novels but this one had me hooked.”

“This book held my attention for two readings … just the intrigue and the possibility of betrayal kept this story a must-finish-tonight reading pleasure.”

“Fantastic book. Highest recommendation.”

“Think Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code. A great read.”

“Brilliantly Seductive. … a brilliant concept brought to life by unconstrained, accessible yet powerfully descriptive writing. When John Oehler introduces a venue, be it the Palace of Versailles or a jail cell in Yemen, he transports us there. John Oehler is destined to join the ranks of such bestselling authors as Dan Brown and Nelson DeMille.”

“I read Aphrodesia in one sitting. Not my original intention.”

“Excellent book. I wouldn't normally buy a book involving perfumes but I have to say this was an excellent read.

Read an Excerpt from Aphrodesia

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Behind The Scenes of Aphrodesia

A visual tour through the making of Aphrodesia — ISIPCA

Perfume bottles

Aphrodesia begins at ISIPCA, the world-famous perfume school in Versailles.  In the satellite view below (from Google Earth), the two chateaux are just to the left of center.  The laboratory wing is the building with the flat, gray roof.  The …

Origin of Aphrodesia

Perfume bottles

The basic ideas for Aphrodesia came slowly over many years. My first story notes date from 2007, but I first became interested in perfumes more than a decade earlier.

Photo Credits