You Can Go Home Now by Michael Elias

You Can Go Home Now by Michael Elias
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

In this smart, relevant, unputdownable psychological thriller, a woman cop is on the hunt for a killer while battling violent secrets of her own.

“My name is Nina Karim. I am a single thirty-one-year-old woman who likes cats, Ryan Reynolds movies, beautiful sunsets, walking on a wintry beach holding hands with a tall, caring, lightly bearded third-wave feminist. Yeah, right.”

Nina is a tough Queens detective with a series of cold case homicides on her desk – men whose widows had the same alibi: they were living in Artemis, a battered women’s shelter, when their husbands were killed.
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Nina goes undercover into Artemis. Though she is playing the victim, she’s anything but. Nina knows about violence and the bullies who rely on it because she’s experienced it in her own life.

In this heart-pounding thriller Nina confronts the violence of her own past in Artemis where she finds solidarity with a community of women who deal with abusive and lethal men in their own way.

For the women living in Artemis there is no absolute moral compass, there is the law and there is survival. And, for Nina, who became a cop so she could find the man who murdered her father, there is only revenge.

While reviewing cold case files, Homicide Detective Nina Karim discovers an intriguing parallel to a current case she’s trying to solve. Intent on solving her current case, as well as those collecting dust as cold cases, Nina dives deep in an effort to get them cleared so she can get back to her real focus – finding the identity of the man who killed her father when she was a kid.

Nina Karim is a complicated and interesting character. I had moments of loving her and others where I wanted to give her a good shake and ask her what the heck she was thinking. In a weird sort of way, her often conflicting thoughts and behaviors work well and show the complexities of an adult still traumatized from acts in their childhood. Her loan shark boyfriend, Bobby B, seemed to have a better handle on things than she did and I liked him a lot.

The story itself is told in an almost stream of consciousness type format, from Nina narrating her current actions to flashbacks to the past. At times, this gives the story a bit of a disjointed feeling, however, about halfway through, it all starts to come together and you’re not as afloat as you were before. You Can Go Home Now is an intense and gritty novel that deals with some of the harshest realities that women and children face today: domestic violence. A warning to anyone who might be sensitive to this topic, there are some vivid descriptions of abuse from the women in the Artemis shelter, however, they are generally brief, although still disturbing. Despite that, the characters and their sometimes questionable actions pulled me in and held me captive right up until the end. Although You Can Go Home Now was a difficult and harrowing read at times, it was well worth it for me.