Perfect Days

Perfect Days

4.3 3
by Raphael Montes

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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.
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


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.
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 digs 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Brazilian author Montes (Suicides) makes his English-language debut with a nifty, albeit nasty little thriller. Teo Avelar, the wonderfully immoral hero at its pitch-black center, is studying to be a pathologist in Rio de Janeiro. His best friend is a corpse. Then he meets Clarice Lispector, a would-be screenwriter, and falls in love. Teo soon starts stalking Clarice, and in a bid to win her over and make her fall in love with him, he drugs and kidnaps her. Expected developments include Clarice’s efforts to escape and the murder of someone who threatens Teo’s plan to keep her captive. More unusual are a tense encounter Teo has with the police and his bouts of paranoia. When the tables finally turn, Montes pulls out the stops with a series of twists—one of which is not for the squeamish. Teo’s criminal mischief may put off some readers, but others will enjoy the wild ride. Agent: Luciana Villas-Boas, Villas-Boas & Moss Literary Agency & Consultancy (Brazil). (Feb.)
From the Publisher
“In any language, Perfect Days may be the most original and viscerally explicit novel you'll read this year….This novel — not for readers with delicate dispositions — is cringe-inducing and utterly monstrous. Filled with plot twists, violence and nail-biting scenes, this tale of psychological suspense uses pitch-black humor as its release valve. Montes makes you laugh, even as he makes you feel bad about doing it.”—Chicago Tribune 

“[An] odd, macabre, fast-paced, twisted, and twisty novel. Is it for everyone? Not at all. But if you’ve ever wondered what Humbert Humbert would look like in modern times, you might want to pick up this short, dark, kind of sick, alternately propelling and repellant book. In its own creepy way, it’s kind of perfect.” —Omnivoracious
“This is the most messed up book I’ve read in a long time….super dark and twisted and weird and alarming and great.” —Book Riot

"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

Library Journal
No one understands Teo Avelar. He is a medical student in Brazil with few friends. Well, he has one close friend named Gertrude, but she doesn't talk much, as readers will quickly find out. Teo takes care of his crippled mother and leads a lonely life until he meets the lovely Clarice. After a simple kiss on the cheek at a party, Teo falls in love. He begins by stalking and eventually kidnapping Clarice. He just can't understand why she will not give him a chance to prove his love, so he takes her on an adventure similar to the screenplay she is writing. Moving from location to location, packing Clarice away in a suitcase and calling her mother to let her know they are safe and having fun, Teo becomes crueler to Clarice. Montes's (Suicides) first novel to be translated into English will make readers grip the pages and hang on for a very disturbing ride. VERDICT Recommended for fans of serial killer and stalker stories, Thomas Harris characters, and those who seeking a look inside the mind of a psychopath.—Jason L. Steagall, Gateway Technical Coll. Lib., Elkhorn, WI
Kirkus Reviews
Psychopathology, Carioca style: well-paced but troubling thriller by Brazilian novelist/lawyer Montes. "He didn't want to come across as sick or a psycho": Hannibal Lecter he's not, not yet, but when we learn that the only person medical student Teo Avelar likes is his dissecting corpse, Gertrude, who, "in the pale light…took on a very peculiar brownish hue, like leather," well, we're sure that bad things are about to ensue. Teo lives with his crippled mother and her dog in a Rio walkup, scarred by unhappy memories. A vegetarian, nondrinker, and otherwise abstemious chap, Teo nonetheless finds himself at a party, where he is smitten by the tiny but overflowingly confident Clarice—her name not just that of a Brazilian novelist ("For God's sake," our Clarice yells, "don't talk to me about Clarice Lispector, because I've never read anything by her!"), but also that of Hannibal Lecter's bête noire, Clarice Starling. Accident? It wouldn't seem so, any more than the poor dog's passing is, and certainly not when Teo kidnaps Clarice, trusting that one day she'll love him as much as he loves her. Their interaction is ugly and violent, and it's not entirely believable that Clarice is able to turn the tables—and then Teo, and then Clarice, until the game of cat and mouse seems more like cat and cat. The suggestion that Clarice is complicit in her own captivity is both daring and controversial; John Fowles did it neatly in The Collector, but half a century on, Montes handles the question somewhat less deftly, and in any event, the characters seem incomplete, their motivations not quite clear save that Teo has a Norman Bates-ian sensitivity to matters maternal. The ending in particular lies on the very border of good and bad taste, but Montes gets points for neatly—and appallingly—connecting it to the opening of his narrative, ironic title and all, in a most unpleasant full circle. Readers of Thomas Harris and Henning Mankell may feel that they've been here before, but a fast and fluent read all the same.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
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Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet 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.

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Perfect Days 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous 9 months ago
This is a very different sort of novel, written in first person by someone you will learn to hate. You will be disturbed, surprised and incredulous often. I will be recommending this book to friends, but only if I think they can handle it!
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
Oh my, this Teo fellow was one crazy, and I mean crazy dude. He thinks that by kidnapping the girl of his dreams and holding her hostage and "treating her like a queen" she will learn to love him. About half way through the book, I was about to go crazy myself. I was pretty much over this psycho and then things started happening. Finally. They had changed hotels and the whole scenery and everything started changing. Not that the first part was boring, I was just tired of this loser guy and the things that he would do to this girl. However, the last half of the book, it was worth getting my blood boiling. I'm not going to give out any spoilers here, you will just have to get the book and see for yourself. But it is definitely a game changer. I guess you could say, be careful what you wish for. Oh what an ending, I loved it!!! Thanks to Penguin Group for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. The ending just blew me away - it was definitely worth the read!