Since its release in 2012, every publisher has been marketing their next thriller as “the next Gone Girl,” but rarely do the books deliver such a tall order. Oddly enough, I think 25-year old Brazilian crime writer Raphael Montes’ sleeper novel Perfect Days (his English-language debut) is actually it—the next Gone Girl—though it was long overlooked back when it was released in February.
Perfect Days is the most fucked up book I’ve read in a long time. As a self-proclaimed scaredy-cat, I enjoyed this novel so much that even though I wanted to ralph after every chapter, I still went back for more. The novel follows Teo, a psychotic, Norman Bates-esque medical student who becomes obsessed with the sassy and beautiful Clarice, a screenwriter major from another university, following a chance encounter at a BBQ. When she rejects his hilariously derpy advances, he then loses his shit, drugs and kidnaps her, and takes his new “girlfriend” on a twisted road trip to hell.
I’m not sure what makes certain people lean over the side of “stalker creep” versus “having no game,” but it’s clear early on that the socially-awkward Teo doesn’t know how to be anything but fucking deranged—and seeing him unravel and entangle himself in a complicated web of lies was strangely satisfying, comical even. Let’s see you get out of this one, I kept thinking over and over as the pages went on, only to watch him do so. (I screamed and laughed like a maniac a lot.) I could indulge more plot-driven details, but I don’t want to spoil things. What I will say is that similar to Gone Girl, the questionable ending is a thing I’d like to discuss with anyone else who reads Perfect Days.
Bottom line: Read this book if you’re down to clown on the ride of your life.