Teo doesn't have a lot of friends. He isn't really comfortable around other people, much less women. But when he meets Clarice he is immediately smitten.
Teo is a medical student living alone with his wheelchair-bound mother. It's because of his mother that he meets Clarice in the first place: she's goaded him into attending a barbecue he's intent on ditching when he stumbles upon Clarice. They talk about little things, she tells him about the screenplay she's working on, he expresses interest, and, with visions of their happily ever after spurring him on, he finds a way to meet up with her again.
It's a story told time and time again when anyone is interested in pursuing a love interest. But for Teo and Clarice, this story is anything but ordinary.
Raphael Montes's US debut is most definitely one of the darkest and twistiest reads I've ever read. And if you've been here a while you know that dark and twisty are generally what I'm drawn to - so when I say darkest and twistiest, I do mean it.
This is a story about lust. And obsession. But out leading man believes it is instead a story about love and passion. About going to great lengths for his soulmate. About securing a future meant for him.
Teo's attempts at crossing paths with Clarice quickly go well beyond the norm and straight into stalker land. When she calls him out on it, albeit nicely, he can see he's losing her and decides force is the only way to go.
What's interesting is that Teo doesn't exactly snap at this point. How can that be, you might be asking? I mean, he does kidnap her and shove her in a suitcase - that certainly sounds like he's snapped. But Teo doesn't exactly see what he's done as bad. In him, Montes has built a character so deluded - you could argue due to nature or nurture thanks to his backstory - that he honestly believes it'll all turn out ok...
From there you probably have an inkling of just how bad things can get. But I think Montes will still manage to surprise you quite a bit.
Perfect Days is out now. It isn't actually Montes's debut - he's released three books so far in Brazil and I believe this is actually his second one there - but it is the first time his work has been released Stateside.
(Psst - check out the FABULOUS book trailer. That Montes at the typewriter!)