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“Find a Husband Before the Killer Finds You”

A Novel by Sun Wei

“Find a Husband before the Killer Finds You”, with the original title “Person in a Bottle”, is a whodunit set in Shanghai, a city filled with lonely people, many with hidden lives. A city pharmaceutical company has spent billions to develop a new antidepressant, but in Stage 3 trials, a patient dies, making headlines and threatening profits. Fourteen other deaths are uncovered, many linked by strange internet posts. Many successful, powerful and glamorous men and women are revealed to suffer ailments such as schizophrenia, depression, drug abuse and Internet addiction. This novel has won the Excellence Award of Chinese Writers’ Erdos National Literature Award.

This novel is set in Shanghai, China's biggest and most developed city. 

Paro Pharmaceutical, one of the biggest companies in Shanghai, has spent billions of dollars in a new kind of antidepressant called “Aidekang” and is hoping to rake in the profits when the drug hits the market. It is said that the new drug triggers a sense of happiness and security in the patient's mind so that he or she feels “loved”.

When the drug enters the double blind Phase 3 testing, Su, the drug testing patient, suddenly commits suicide, which makes it difficult for the new product to get approval from the State Food and Drug Administration of China.  

Zhou, an investigator with Paro’s law department, is designated to handle the case. She is 29, single, and about to join the “leftover women” in China. Zhou has an introverted personality, dating nobody and detesting real-world social contacts. As an Internet addict, she spends most of her time hanging around an Internet forum called “Just Want You to Know”.

The dead, Su, aged 35, who was the vice manager of a publishing company, was “beautiful and successful" in the eyes of her family and colleagues. However, she slashed her own carotid artery with a razor blade and bled to death in her own apartment.

Zhou comes to realize that Su was one of her own kind, a leftover woman. By coincidence, Zhou finds out that Su was also a registered member of the forum.

The razor blade found in Su’s dressing room reminds Zhou of an online disfigurement case that was heatedly discussed by the netizens. In that case, the victim got cut on her face. It appeared to have been slashed by a razor but there was no suspect nor was the razor found. 

As the investigation continues, which is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, the real Su comes into being piece by piece, together with the fourteen other characters in the story.All these characters are inter-related because of the new antidepressant drug and an Internet forum called “Just Want You to Know”.

This forum is a cyber-society where lonely people gather to chat about their innermost feelings and thoughts. Many of the posts relate to the untold stories of the users, who are waiting to be noticed and read by the other members day by day- hence the name “Just Want You to Know”.

The police dig out the last words Su posted. Zhou discovers that they were posted after Su died, which means that unless there are ghosts in the world, somebody else must have posted them. Thus, she reasons, Su’s death should be treated as a murder instead of a suicide.

Soon another woman participating in the drug testing is found dead in her own apartment, who died in almost exactly the same manner as Su. At the same time, the ghost posted messages on the Internet forum using Su’s online ID to announce the revenge. This makes Zhou think that Su’s death is just the beginning of a series of cold-blooded killings.

Every time there is an accident, the ghost uses Su’s ID to post an update, condemning the victims for hurting others’ feelings, holding them accountable as if on Judgment Day. The ghost is careful and meticulous yet likes boasting about what it has done.

Zhou concludes that the ghost is probably lying about its motivations. It could be someone who believes it is immoral to use the new drug as a substitute for mental comfort. It could also be someone who wants to prevent the new drug from getting to the market for commercial reasons... 

As Zhou continues the investigation, more and more truths get exposed on the forum, which turns everybody that we know in our daily life into complete strangers. Those who seem strong turn out to be weak, the indifferent are passionate, the loving appear evil, and the happiest are sadly the most miserable. It is surprising to see that these seemingly successful people are actually tortured and battling loneliness. They are becoming more and more isolated due to their addiction to the Internet and reliance on drugs. Meanwhile, Shanghai serves as a strange backdrop.

Now that death has begun to strike, everyone panics that he or she has never truly been listened to by anyone in this world, as in the case of Su. If it were not for her death, which affected billions of dollars in profits for the new drug, who would bother to find out what kind of person she really was?

Evidently, the ghost is familiar with all these people. It must be someone very close to Zhou. Sometimes Zhou even feels it breathing, or following her, until one day Zhou finds that she herself has become the ultimate target of the killing… 

 

长篇小说《单身太久会被杀掉的》

原名《瓶中人》,获第二届中国作家鄂尔多斯文学奖优秀作品奖。

“本作以一个悬疑推理的故事为外壳,在现实世界和网络世界的有机转换中,残酷而真实地揭示出了现代人的精神困境和心理疑难。作者层层剥笋的叙事手法以及强大的细节展示能力,使小说呈现出高度的智慧之美和叙事之美。”

——中国作家鄂尔多斯文学奖授奖辞

深度剖析单身人群的骄傲与孤独,

尽写无法逃离社会和现实的纠结,

一部关于抑郁症、医药公司、医院和都市孤独人群的都市犯罪小说。

多情的“准新娘”在咖啡馆惨遭毁容,警方介入时,她却选择了逃亡;浪漫的女主编死于自己的公寓,她的父母却为何将医药公司告上法庭; 紧接着,又一位女白领倒在血泊之中…… 她们都聪明敏感,事业有成,却都患有轻度抑郁症,还都上一个“就是想让你知道”的论坛。她们都单身太久。 名牌大学毕业、二十九岁的预备役剩女周游,与刑警王小山、男闺蜜比尔联手调查,就在真相呼之欲出时,她却收到了凶手发出的死亡预告……