This debut novel (set in New Zealand and Australia) by JP Pomare is meant to keep readers guessing. It’s meant to have us doubting ourselves and our perceptions of the book’s characters; and it certainly does that. Indeed, even when things become clear(er) I still wasn’t sure who to believe.
Call Me Evie
by J.P. Pomare
Published by Hachette Australia, G.P. Putnam's Sons
on December 27th 2018
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Thriller / Suspense, Psychological Thriller
Meet Evie, a young woman held captive by a man named Jim in the isolated New Zealand beach town of Maketu.
Jim says he's hiding Evie to protect her, that she did something terrible back home in Melbourne.
In a house that creaks against the wind, Evie begins to piece together her fractured memories of the events that led her here.
Jim says he's keeping her safe. Evie's not sure she can trust Jim, but can she trust her own memories?
This book unfolds in the ‘before’ and the ‘after’. In the ‘after’ Kate (now known as Evie) is living in a small New Zealand town with the man she calls Jim.
The ‘before’ features Kate in the months leading up to the ‘after’.
I hadn’t realised (from the backcover blurb and before starting the story) that Kate is young. She’s 17 and finishing high school (at a prestigious Melbourne girls private school) when we meet her.
Her father was a famous footballer, turned financial analyst who quit rugby after Kate’s mother died over a decade earlier. Her father’s rather protective and a tad controlling but the pair seem close. There are early hints of disquiet in terms of her relationship with her mother (and between her parents) however and it’s obvious Kate’s carrying some baggage (not a clinical term 🙂 ) from her childhood.
Pomare alternates the before and after, starting with the after so it’s a little confusing in the beginning as we don’t know much.
I get that Pomare wants us to be unsure who to believe but for me it meant I wasn’t really sure what was happening. Not just who was lying but how much we were being kept in the dark on purpose by the characters vs the author himself.
I should also mention the logic lover in me tried to work out how Kate / Evie was transported between countries. And she seems aware of far more than she lets on… which is slightly annoying as she’s our narrator (for the most part).
It felt a little disjointed and I’m not entirely sure the ‘after’ flowed well for me. The characters – what they knew / revealed and how they acted didn’t seem consistent. The plotting and pacing in the ‘before’ worked much better. Having said that, I really had no idea what was happening in the ‘after’ so Pomare does keep we readers guessing until the very end.
This is an interesting debut novel. I didn’t entirely LOVE it but it’s cleverly crafted and was intriguing enough to keep me turning page after page.
Call Me Evie by JP Pomare was published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.