In his debut novel, The Perfume Burned His Eyes, Emmy-winning actor and screenwriter Michael Imperioli (Woke Up this Morning, with Steve Schirripa) takes readers back to the era of 1970s rock-'n'-roll in New York City, conjuring a vivid, gritty portrait of the city. Narrator Matthew's grieving mother pulls him from his comfortable childhood home in Queens after he loses his father and grandfather and moves them to a posh new apartment in Manhattan. Uprooted, Matthew is only a few miles from his childhood home but leagues away from his pre-adolescent innocence. His life is swept up in a whirlwind of intrigue when he meets his neighbor, rock star Lou Reed: "He looked like the junkies I would see hanging out by the Roosevelt Avenue subway station hustling change for a token or a shot. But I was wrong." Matthew, entranced by Reed's alternative lifestyle, follows him around the city and entangles himself in the musician's unpredictable practices.
While his affection deepens for this unconventional father figure, he discovers his romantic desires. Veronica, whom Matthew notices on his first day at the Hobart School, fascinates him with her curious interests and maturity that's well beyond her age. However, Reed and Veronica lead Matthew into intensely perturbing situations in this unconventional coming-of-age narrative, with the 1970s Manhattan landscape offering an endless array of excitement and trouble. Matthew's wit, quickly fading innocence and deeply troubled mind will create strong empathy in readers. --Clara Newton, freelance reviewer