Call Me Evie (J P Pomare, Hachette)
What do you do when you can’t remember the incident that changed your life? Seventeen-year-old Kate—now using the alias ‘Evie’ to protect her identity—is being held captive in a remote New Zealand coastal town by a man she calls Jim. He claims he’s keeping her safe. Kate knows they’ve fled here because of a terrible crime she supposedly committed back home in Melbourne, but she can only recall fragments of the night in question. As she struggles to remember more, she wonders if she can really trust Jim or her own fractured memories. J P Pomare’s debut novel Call Me Evie is a relentless page-turner with more twists than a slinky, and fits the popular sub-genre of memory-loss thrillers such as S J Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep or Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train. It’s compellingly structured, with ‘before’ and ‘after’ chapters weaving together Kate’s former life as a Melbourne schoolgirl with her mysterious new existence, as it gradually pieces together the central narrative puzzle: what happened that night in Melbourne? The New Zealand setting is evocatively wrought, although the characters don’t feel as strongly realised or sympathetic as they could be. Nonetheless, Call Me Evie is a one-sitting kind of book, ideal for readers who enjoy fast-paced thrillers that keep them guessing.
Carody Culver is a freelance writer and editor and former bookseller. She currently works at the State Library of Queensland