Author: Raphael Montes

Publisher: Penguin Press


Perfect Days' author, Raphael Montes, is an attorney and crime/mystery writer. (back cover, 2015) He is Brazilian, born in Rio de Janeiro. This is his second novel. (Suicides published in 2010 and finalist for the Sao Paulo Literature Prize) His words and stories have been published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and Playboy.

Montes is a new, fresh voice on the mystery/crime scene to me anyway. I have a lingering feeling he will soon be well known around the globe, but let me tell you a bit about Perfect Days then you can decide for yourself.

There are a few central characters to this novel. The top male is a young man by the name of Teo. He is a friendless medical student with a passion for cadavers. Teo lives with his disabled mother, Patricia, and her dog. Gertrude is Teo’s cadaver girlfriend. He speaks to her and tells her all the things he would tell anyone else if he had any friends. She is, of course, unable to reply or pass judgment on any of the tales he tells her.

Clarice is the lead female character and she is gregarious and fun-loving. Clarice has two close female friends and a romance with her boyfriend, Breno, that is on again off again. She is working on a screenplay.

Breno is smitten with Clarice, but Clarice’s parents don’t like him very much. Clarice doesn’t seem to be very close to either of her parents. She and Breno fight and make up a lot. One of her close girlfriends has a woman crush on her and has expressed it on occasion to Clarice, who appears undecided.

Teo meets Clarice at a BBQ and for the first time he is actually interested in someone besides his corpse friend, Gertrude. Through a series of slights of hand he manages to get her phone number. Her peck on his cheek sends him deep into stalker-dom. Teo cannot get Clarice out of his mind. Eventually, he devises a plan to locate her and show her what a great companion he would make for her. His plan goes awry and he ends up sedating her and bringing her home to his mother’s house in a suitcase. The mother’s dog will not quit barking so Teo sedates him too. The mother is pleased to see that Teo finally has a real girlfriend. Teo overdoes the dog and he dies. The mother is forlorn.

When Teo is away from Clarice he handcuffs her to his bed and gags her mouth so she is unable to scream. This scenario lasts for about a week.

Teo decides to take Clarice to Dwarf Lake Farm Hotel because it is away from his mother and offers the solitude that he hopes may make Clarice come around to loving him in return. Again he sedates her and loads her into the suitcase for safe keeping. Finally he allows her to ride in the front of the car with him, handcuffed.

Clarice has been to this hotel many times before and the dwarves who own and operate this establishment know her quite well. Here, Teo watches her write the remainder of her screenplay and gives her insight into his psyche. He brings her food and buys her dresses so she will look pretty. She is still kept in handcuffs and gagged when he leaves the room. She is annoyed that he continues to treat her this way, but complies because she has no alternative or plan.

Will Teo win her over? What becomes of Breno? Will Clarice escape? Read it and you will find out!