Perfect Days was April’s Criminally Good Book Club read; my first crime fiction read by a Brazilian author and what a good read it was!
From the inside cover:
Teo, a medical student, meets Clarice at a party. Teo doesn’t really like people, they’re too messy, but he immediately realises that he and Clarice are meant to be together. And if Clarice doesn’t accept that? Well, they just need to spend some time together, and she’ll come to realise that too.
And yes, he has bought handcuffs and yes, he has taken her prisoner and yes, he is lying to her mother and to his mother and to the people at the hotel he’s keeping her at, but it’s all for her own good.
She’ll understand. She’ll fall in love. She’ll settle down and be his loving wife.
Told from the perspective of Teo, an odd fellow who’s right at home in the anatomy lab, with a scalpel in hand and his only friend, Gertrude, by his side. To give you an idea of Teo’s nature, Teo is a medical student and Gertrude is dead, so you know already things are going to get creepy when Teo decides Clarice is the one for him.
Interestingly, I didn’t like the main character, Teo, who perhaps, was meant to be an anti-hero who the audience may feel some sympathy towards, nor did I like the victim, Clarice – however, that did not alter my reading experience and, in my opinion, this is not the kind of story you need a character to root for. It is short in length, less than 300 pages, in its own satire way, it’s a creepy little delight. Yes, the majority of characters in this one are unlikeable but please disregard any comparison you’ve seen about this book being the Brazilian Gone Girl, it’s not – let it stand on its own merit.
I enjoyed this novel as it’s quite different to the crime fiction I’ve been reading lately, Montes uses dark humour expertly and takes the reader on a creepy road trip, where Teo tries many different tactics to show Clarice that they are meant to be together. Using the right amount of suspense, I was hooked to this story, at times wondering if Clarice was succumbing to Teo’s ‘charm’, also the added suspense of Teo being captured. The mystery here lies in the encounter between Teo and Clarice, will she escape or will Teo make her his forever! The plot isn’t to be taken too seriously, it has elements of realism and elements that are far-fetched but combined, it made an entertaining read. A book I have no issues recommending, and I look forward to seeing what Montes writes next (and thank you to Alison Entrekin for providing the translation).
As for the ending, and the plot twists throughout, I loved them, they added a wonderful chilling atmosphere to the read, not in the scary sense but in an entertaining sense, I thought they were clever and one in particular shocked me and I could not have predicted it if you paid me. I think this book would be ideal for fans of macabre crime fiction who enjoy psychological thrillers with elements of horror.
Reviews by other book club members:
What Emily @book.happy thought: “This book was absolutely nuts, and you need to read it. It was creepy and
fucked up in the best way. I hope more of Montes work will be translated” [4/5 stars]