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Jo McCarty
Call Me Adam
Jo McCarty, author
In a rural Michigan town, in a post-Covid world on the brink of a new disaster, Louie discovers an extraordinary ability—he can’t die. Fortuitous, if not for the small catch that he doesn’t want to live. While everyone else is desperately fighting to survive a global biotic crisis, Louie constantly seeks death only to be resurrected time and time again. Louie is the town nothing. If life was a school yard pick, he would be the last one on the team. Immortality is a burden, a cruel twist of fate, even as he wonders why him and what is he meant to do. But everything changes when Louie meets Katherine, a smart New York City woman determined to survive in this post-apocalyptic world. Finally, Louie has a reason to live, which is good timing because with each death he becomes weaker. It would be a love story if not for all the death and dying. Katherine and Louie aren’t living in utopia. There are other survivors who have their own ideas about the future. Ones they’re willing to kill for. Louie and Katherine must not only defend themselves and their resources from outsiders but fight against their own darker natures before Louie’s strange gift fades away. Amidst the chaos and despair, their story is one of hope, resilience, and redemption. Louie and Katherine, an unlikely modern-day Adam and Eve, will prove that even in the darkest of times, an ending can be a new beginning. Content Advisory: This book contains adult themes and explores the darker nature of the human condition. Readers will be exposed to content they may find upsetting, controversial, or offensive, including fictional portrayal of self-harm, suicide, and suicidal thinking.
Survivors of a post-Covid pandemic learn the value of life and love in this speculative thriller of what it means to survive. Small-town ne’er-do-well Louie has been given the “gift” of survival—he cannot die, but he desperately wants and tries to. Katherine, meanwhile, wants to survive but wonders if that’s even possible, as the world duo community faces a devastating new flu that quickly infects and kills its victims. They embark on initially separate journeys—Louie in a remote town in Michigan and Katherine in a shutting-down New York City—through this possible apocalypse, meeting survivors with their own agendas. But Louie’s phone call to the newspaper where Katherine works connects them—he thinks, rightly, somebody should write about his apparent immortality. As civilization crumbles around them, with full towns reportedly wiped out, the duo begins to have increasingly vivid, shared dreams of one another.

McCarty captures this chillingly familiar possible future in brisk prose, offering enough striking imagery to suggest a world gone wrong while never weighing the narrative down in minutiae. The story, disturbingly plausible after the events of 2020, intrigues from the first few pages but becomes increasingly urgent: a dying mother arrives on Katherine’s doorstep and thrusts her infant daughter, Ana, upon her, while Louie reluctantly finds himself with unwelcome houseguests, most notably a former police officer named Devlin. These new entrants into Louie’s and Katherine’s carefully controlled worlds lay bare everyone’s fears and flaws, all as the dreams drive Katherine to leave NYC and seek Louie out.

As their story unfolds, these surprising leads learn to hope and fight for the future they had dreamed. Framed among themes of survival, redemption, healing, new beginnings and love in a variety of forms, the characters are caught in loops of their making until they discover their purpose. McCarty’s sharp characterization and vividly imagined catastrophes will leave readers of humane, contemporary apocalypses rooting for life in a sea of relatable loss.

Takeaway: Humane thriller of a pandemic, survival, and unexpected connection.

Comparable Titles: Ling Ma’s Severance, Karen Thompson Walker’s The Dreamers.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A