Judith D Collins
By: Raphael Montes
Publisher: Penguin Group
Publication Date: 2/16/2016
My Rating: 3 Stars
A twisted young medical student kidnaps the girl of his dreams and embarks on a dark and delirious road trip across Brazil in the English-language debut of one of Brazil's most celebrated young crime writers. Teo Avelar is a loner. He lives with his paraplegic mother and her dog in Rio de Janeiro, he doesn't have many friends, and the only time he feels honest human emotion is in the presence of his medical school cadaver—that is, until he meets Clarice. She's almost his exact opposite: exotic, spontaneous, unafraid to speak her mind. An aspiring screenwriter, she's working on a screenplay called Perfect Days about three friends who go on a road trip across Brazil in search of romance.
Teo is obsessed. He begins to stalk her, first following her to her university, then to her home, and when she ultimately rejects him, he kidnaps her and they embark upon their very own twisted odyssey across Brazil, tracing the same route outlined in her screenplay.
Through it all, Teo is certain that time is all he needs to prove to Clarice that they are made for each other, that time is all he needs to make her fall in love with him. But as the journey progresses, he keeps digging himself deeper and deeper into a pit that he can't get out of, stopping at nothing to ensure that no one gets in the way of their life together.
Both tense and lurid, and brimming with suspense from the very first page, Perfect Days is a psychological thriller in the vein of Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley—a chilling journey in the passenger seat with a psychopath, and the English language debut of one of Brazil's most deliciously dark young writers.
A special thank you to Penguin and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. PERFECT DAYS, a satirical/comical psychological thriller by Brazilian novelist and lawyer, Raphael Montes –a dark game cat and mouse. Which one will win? Will the tables be turned? Shock Fator High. The subjective measure of the psychological "impact" of any given event. "There is always some madness in love. But there is always some reason in madness. "–Friedrich Nietzsche Teo (Theodoro) is a medical student. He wants to be a pathologist. He is comfortable with the dead and the corpse, Gertrude. Teo is not intimidated. The anatomy lab is his domain. He likes the smell of formaldehyde, the instruments in his gloved hands, and he likes having Gertrude on the table. He enjoys her company. His imagination knows no bounds. He is twisted. They had grown closer over the course of the semester. He respected her. She had died of extraordinary causes. Gertrude perhaps would have taught him how to live. He felt like avenging Gertrude. He wasn’t a murderer nor a monster, even though he felt like one. He did not like anyone. He just lived. Teo lives with his paraplegic mother, Patricia and her dog in Rio. The wheelchair was part of their everyday life. His mom wants him to attend a BBQ and he says he is a vegetarian. He attends, and meets Clarice. Well dressed, not exactly beautiful, exotic perhaps. She is studying art at university and interested in screenwriting. She is working on a screenplay called Perfect Days, a road trip across Brazil in search of romance. Amanda, Priscilla, and Carol. You guessed it “Teo becomes obsessed.” Stalking. She rejects him. She tells him he is not her type. They can be friends. She does not want him to bother her, call her, follow her, or buy her presents. With a sociopath —they do not take rejection well. So he takes matters in his own hands, hits her, and puts her in a suitcase and off they go. Drugs, kidnaps, and holds her captive. Two pink Samsonite suitcases. He now is a criminal. He just wanted the best for her. It was not pre-meditated, of course. What if she did not forgive him? He saw her as a diamond in the rough. After all, he was a man of many qualities. Well-educated, with a future. He would be a good father, and a good husband. He is delusional. He would travel with Clarice to Teresopolis and slowly win her over. Let the games begin. He will stop at nothing to get his girl, and remove anyone who gets in the way. After all, there was something magical about what they were doing; packing bags, following an itinerary laid out in a screenplay. They were probing fiction and building a new reality, their own reality. Teo is determined to win in the end--and he, may just pull it off-like a rock star. Twisted, dark, wacky, psycho, crazy, creepy, and chilling. Readers will be reminded of Caroline Kepnes' You and Hidden Bodies character, Joe Goldberg (in more ways than one). In fact, Clarice would be a good match for Joe. If you like dark and witty, in the theme of Norman Bates and Patricia Highsmith —you will delight in Montes' bizarre creation.
A twisted young medical student kidnaps the girl of his dreams and embarks on a dark and delirious road trip across Brazil in the English-language debut of Brazil's most celebrated young crime writer. On sale from Penguin Press 2/16/16
"Montes is one of Brazil’s rising crime novelists, and he has filled Perfect Days with suspense and joltingplot twists." —Booklist
"I was gripped from the very beginning by this, yes, perfect novel, merging literary sensibilities, psychological insight and breathtaking suspense. To top it all off, Montes brings Rio de Janeiro and Brazil to life as few authors could do. A superb achievement! Raphael Montes is a must-read!" -Jeffery Deaver
“A nifty, albeit nasty little thriller….Montes pulls out the stops with a series of twists—one of which is not for the squeamish.” - Publisher's Weekly
“A gripping debut. Raphael Montes is a writer to watch - he will do great things!” --Sophie Hannah
"A chilling, twisty exposed nerve of a novel. Even creepier than Gone Girl. I loved it." --Lauren Beukes
"Raphael Montes is one of the most brilliant young novelists I've encountered. He is certain to redefine Brazilian crime fiction and to emerge as a figure on the world literary scene." --Scott Turow
About the Author
Raphael Montes was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1990. He is a lawyer and a writer and his short stories have appeared in Playboy and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. His debut novel, Roulette, was published to much acclaim in Brazil in 2010 and was a finalist for the São Paolo Literature Prize. Perfect Days is being published in 13 countries. Montes published his third book, The Village, in August 2015, earning him comparisons with Stephen King. He also writes screenplays for cinema and television. Read More