Thursday 6 June 2019

Book Review: They Called Me Wyatt by Natasha Tynes (Literary Fiction/Spec Fic)

Title: They Called Me Wyatt
Author: Natasha Tynes
Rare Bird Books

Publication Date: 11 June 2019
eBook - EPUB
Literary Fiction/Spec Fic
Review Copy from Author


When Jordanian student Siwar Salaiha is murdered on her birthday in College Park, Maryland, her consciousness survives, finding refuge in the body of a Seattle baby boy. Stuck in this speech delayed three-year old body, Siwar tries but fails to communicate with Wyatt's parents, instead she focuses on solving the mystery behind her murder. Eventually, her consciousness goes into a dormant state after Wyatt undergoes a major medical procedure.

Fast-forward twenty-two years. Wyatt is a well-adjusted young man with an affinity towards the Middle East and a fear of heights. While working on his graduate degree in Middle Eastern studies, Wyatt learns about Siwar's death, which occurred twenty-five years ago. For reasons he can't explain, he grows obsessed with Siwar and spends months investigating her death, which police at the time erroneously ruled as suicide. His investigation forces him to open a door he has kept shut all his life, a spiritual connection to an unknown entity that he frequently refused to acknowledge. His leads take him to Amman, Jordan where after talking to her friends and family members and through his special connection with the deceased, he discovers a clue that unravels the mystery of her death. Will Siwar get justice after all?

They Called Me Wyatt is a book with a fascinating premise. I liked the idea of a murder mystery combined with speculative fiction, and for the most part it worked. I did enjoy the gradual exploration of what happened to Siwar, and the final reveal of the killer surprised me. However, I had some difficulty with the characters. Neither Wyatt nor Siwar are especially 'likeable' (for want of a better word). Siwar in particular is selfish, manipulative (pushing Wyatt into taking alcohol and drugs, and leading him into a sexual relationship with her niece!) and, at times, prejudiced. The way she spoke and behaved made it hard for me to care about finding her killer. As such, I am giving this three and a half stars. It was a good premise, the speculative fiction elements came together well, but I would have liked more sympathetic characters to really engage me in their story and struggles.

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