Review: Call Me Evie by J.P. Pomare

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In this propulsive, twist-filled, and haunting psychological suspense debut perfect for fans of Sharp Objects and Room, a seventeen-year-old girl struggles to remember the role she played on the night her life changed forever.

For the past two weeks, seventeen-year-old Kate Bennet has lived against her will in an isolated cabin in a remote beach town–brought there by a mysterious man named Bill. Part captor, part benefactor, Bill calls her Evie and tells her he’s hiding her to protect her. That she did something terrible one night back home in Melbourne–something so unspeakable that he had no choice but to take her away. The trouble is, Kate can’t remember the night in question.

The fragments of Kate’s shattered memories of her old life seem happy: good friends, a big house in the suburbs, a devoted boyfriend. Bill says he’ll help her fill in the blanks–but his story isn’t adding up. And as she tries to reconcile the girl she thought she’d been with the devastating consequences Bill claims she’s responsible for, Kate will unearth secrets about herself and those closest to her that could change everything.

A riveting debut novel that fearlessly plumbs the darkest recesses of the mind, Call Me Evie explores the fragility of memory and the potential in all of us to hide the truth, even from ourselves.

 

A girl, who is told to go by the name “Evie”, is held captive in a strange house in a strange town, by a man she calls Jim.  Although she feels she is being held against her will, in actuality, she’s on the run from authorities due to something terrible that happened, which she can’t remember.  Jim is keeping her locked up for her own good, trying to help her remember what happened that night and keep her away from the authorities.  Only, is he actually trying to help her? one day Evie notices a note in her book, that advises her “do not trust him”.  The longer she’s kept locked up, the more Evie’s suspicions of Jim increase, and she begins to believe he’s got something to hide in all of this, and through his manipulation, he’s got her exactly where he wants her.  What really happened that dreadful night, that he’s trying to cover up? And will “Evie” escape from the perilous prison she’s in?

I want to start my review by saying I think any prospective reader should use ratings only as a guide, rather than reading the actual reviews, because this book is worth reading without any insight or spoilers. I promise any reader who likes psychological thrillers like this, you’ll enjoy it more if you just start reading it.

Call Me Evie is definitely intriguing, and is written with an atmosphere of obscurity to keep the reader engaged.  We aren’t immediately made aware of what’s happened to put Evie in the position she’s in, but rather, it unfolds through alternating timelines of “before” and “after” the incident.  This ongoing mystery is prolonged due to Evie’s lack of memory, and by the time the story comes full circle, it not only becomes clear why, but it is satisfying.

Evie is portrayed as a victim and an unreliable narrator, which made me empathise with her, but also made me wary of her.  At times I couldn’t handle what was happening to Evie, and I didn’t feel like she was untrustworthy, but Jim certainly made attempted to make her sound crazy. The interactions between Evie and Jim go between loving but also threatening, as it appears they are pitted against each other.  This creates a psychological thriller where every reader will need to choose whose narrative is more trustworthy.  On the whole, the characters were neither likeable nor not likeable. I wouldn’t say this is a novel with much character development or exploration, except a little bit for Evie. Beyond Evie and Jim, there were secondary characters that contributed to the overall plot, but weren’t focused on enough to be key characters – maybe with the exception for the victim!

By the middle of the book, I found the pace of the book a little frustrating because dialogue between Evie and Jim became repetitive. Chapter after chapter I repeatedly had to read about Evie having her suspicions, asking question after new question, and her being told “don’t worry, it’s nothing really.” This was okay until a point, but it became irritating rather than creepy.  Also, I didn’t like how Evie was so casually dismissed by the secondary characters she met during her captivity, and I didn’t like how Jim’s day and night absences weren’t explained further by the story’s conclusion – Where did he go? Why was he away for so long? What happened during these moments?

This is the kind of book that makes the hairs on your arms stand on edge. Every instinct in my being was churning for Evie, because I felt how wrong the situation was. It felt so terribly wrong, which made the overall story extremely gripping. I had to know the outcome and was on the edge of my seat.  This book turned my mind inside and out, the psychological undertones throughout were unnerving and gripping.  Overall, I read this book within a day and I’m going to rate it 4 stars. The only reason it misses 5 is due to the repetitiveness of some dialogue/scenes, and my issue with Jim’s unresolved absences.

 

Buy It Now

Call Me Evie by J.P. Pomare
Published 18th April 2019 (UK)
Genre: mystery, thriller, suspense

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*Thank you kindly to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an e-copy, in exchange for this honest review.


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