Perfect Days, as the English edition is called, has a cover that fits totally. You can see it at the bottom of my review. But it was the cover of the German edition, that got me. Dark, fascinating, and with a hint of danger. A psychological thriller is exactly what you will get. A twisted, dark, dusky, and very bloody piece of work with some unexpected turns and two main figures where I am still not sure which of them was more psychic. In fact, this thriller contains very graphic scenes and is so morbid and fucked up when it comes to his two protagonists, that you should read this only if you are willing to get your nerves and even your stomach turned upside down.

Sag Kein Wort*
by Raphael Montes
Original Title Dias Perfeitos / Perfect Days
Publisher Limes on June 26, 2017
Genre Thriller
Pages 317
Format Paperback
Source Publisher

Téo 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. Téo 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 outlines in her screenplay. Through it all, Téo 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. 
Téo loves to talk to Gertrudes. An old woman he loves dearly – and which is a dead body in the morgue. But when he meets Clarice for the first time, he knows that she is the one. His only problem: Clarice isn´t feeling the same for him. The way she treats him is only a fun game for her, but nothing serious. For Téo it is real. Very real. And his mind comes up with a plan to make her his. Entirely.

Raphael Montes writes clear, to the point and every word is used as a weapon. The contrast between the elegance of his writing and that what happens is sharp like a knife and yet kind of soft. The author doesn´t need to use loud tones. He gets you in a sneaky way and shocks you out of the blue. There are scenes that are so bloody, so gloomy and so SICK that it makes you feel bad. The one with Breno and the knife was appalling and it took me some moments to realize what just had happened. And what Téo does towards the end to Clarice is barbaric, abnormal, unnatural and simply forbidding that I can only suggest to every interested reader – yes, I say it again: if you aren´t in for brutality, blood and everything that a sick mind can come up with, you better don´t touch this book!

The story is oppressive, intense, and shows you in a very elegant and yet scary way that one lie is forcing another and that Téo is the master of the game when it comes to it. He lies to everyone about anything. But never gets caught … The way how he does everything, how he comes up with all his ideas, the moments when he starts to tell you that he isn´t the monster you think he is – all that is brought to you in a twisted but classy way.

Holy hell, how can a man express his love to a woman like that? But the moment, when Clarice starts acting, he is pissed, angry, and feels totally insulted and hurt. Let me be straight. Téo is a monster. Pure evil. In every meaning of those words. Don´t let yourself get fooled by him. He is a genius, a mind that doesn´t work the way that of normal human works. His thoughts are devastating gross and so murderous – I haven´t seen anything like him in a male character before. Oh, yes, to the outside he acts like a nice guy who can´t harm a fly. But in his mind …

The second I read the scene with the butterfly I thought OH NO! Don´t tell me that this is what´ll be going to happen over the next pages. A scene not only very symbolic but threatening and cold-blooded as well. Well, what can I say … It got a lot worse.

Téo isn´t capable of feeling anything. Emotions are something he doesn´t understand. There is nothing close to it inside him. At least not the way what you and I call normal. And if he shows any emotion, he is faking it. Playing them out in a perfect way. The fact that Clarice isn´t fond of him and sees right through him drives him mad. His plan, to show her what´s best for her, is born in an instant, and in the end, I couldn´t believe that the author gave him what he wanted. In a way, I only felt bizarre about it. No woman should have to end up like Clarice did.

No doubt, the author knows how to get into his reader´s mind. How to twist up things and presents them in a very elegant and fascinating but morbid way. The psychological finesse in Perfect Days is phenomenal brilliant. I didn´t see it coming and had high hopes for Clarice that got brutally crushed in the end. It took me a night of sleep and time doing anything but reading or thinking about this shocking book and still, I am not quite sure how I feel about it. So, yes, the author and his twisted work of psychological thriller still have its impact on me. None I like, but it is there. No book I will read a second time and I am not sure if I will ever read a book like this again.

Happy reading

*This ARC was kindly provided to me by Limes in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. Therefore, the cover of the German edition is shown first in this review.

*This book was published in English Perfect Days by Penguin Press on February 16, 2016.

Raphael Montes
Raphael Montes ©Bel Pedrosa

Raphael Montes was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1990 and is a lawyer and a writer. His short stories have appeared in Playboy and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. His debut novel, Suicides, was published to much acclaim in Brazil in 2010 and was a finalist for the Sao Paolo Literature Prize, among many other accolades. In his homeland, Raphael Montes is celebrated as “Stephen King of Brazil”. With his second suspense novel, Montes also causes a sensation internationally. The author lives in Rio de Janeiro.


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