1. PERFECT DAYS jacket


By Raphael Montes

Penguin Press

February 16, 2016

272 pages, hardcover



Any book that literally starts out with the protagonist more comfortable with a female cadaver than a living woman should immediately raise a few red flags in the mind of the reader. Oh, I didn’t mention that “Gertrude” is old enough to be his grandmother. Curious to know the inner workings of a psychotic mind, I read on.  I had a front row seat on a dark adventure.

This psychological thriller introduces us to Teo Avelar, a medical student who judges others, but thinks he’s as pure as the first snowfall. But in truth, he crosses the line of delusional to lost. Though, he began as an innocent loner with a disabled mother he veered quickly down the path beyond help.

The novel begins with Teo’s thoughts focused on Gertrude in med lab and then shifts to a party his mother forces him to attend. Here he meets Clarice, a beautiful, carefree, and open-minded young woman who sees herself as a future screenwriter. She apparently is the first woman to notice he exists. Because of this, he immediately thinks she’s in love with him. Not having the courage to ask her out, he begins stalking her and assists her when she’s too drunk to help herself. When he arrives at her home the next morning, she confesses that she knows what he’s up to, that it’s sick and he needs to stop it right now. Unfortunately, his anger works against her. Something within his fragile self snaps and he feels he has no choice but to take her with him. He literally rolls her out of her home unconscious without her family even knowing. Because he already told her family that she’s heading toward her favorite retreat, he feels that will buy him time to convince her that they would make the perfect couple.

From this point on it’s a mental twilight zone for Clarice.

Here is another example of a book I wouldn’t have chosen because it’s a thriller. To my surprise, PERFECT DAYS not only held my interest, but I was determined to find out if justice would be served. What amazes me is how he justified his actions. Perhaps that is how he was able to commit his horrible crimes. When I learned about his parents’ car accident, I felt that was partly responsible for his immaturity when dealing with relationships with women. Not having a male role model and having an overbearing mother may have damaged him.

This book moves at a fast pace. Nothing holds it down. The storyline is fully developed with all matter of situations to dig the protagonist deeper and deeper into his self-made living hell. One encounter seemed unavoidable, but I wonder why Teo had to go to such extremes. Loved the book.

Five pink suitcases out of five

Denise Fleischer


April 24, 2016