Harlot’s Fire by LM Pampuro

Harlot’s Fire by LM Pampuro
Publisher: Grateful Publishing
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Contemporary
Rated: 3 stars
Reviewed by Poppy

Harlot Grace, the brains behind the street drug Gray Death, has escaped from the hospital.

Brendan Curry’s tour bus is missing. Curry’s father is the lead prosecutor on Harlot’s case.

Special Agent Alia Price needs to find both – one for justice, the other to save his life.

With help from a Rockstar and his caravan, Price goes on an undercover journey that takes her from a major music festival to deep within a national forest.

Will she reach both in time?

The continuation of the earlier released Harlot’s Grace, Harlot’s Fire brings a strong female lead to the spotlight.

I’m going to say something I’ve never said before — this book would have been much better as a movie. That’s not to say the book wasn’t decent, it’s just that it was dark and gritty and action-packed. Sometimes those things can be difficult to portray with words and play out better on the screen.

The story was interesting, and I liked that the author did a recap, more or less, of book one using a newspaper story. Since I didn’t read the first book in this series, it helped catch me up. It didn’t help me to understand the interpersonal relationships well, so that I did struggle with a bit as I got up to speed. Although, technically this book can stand alone, I absolutely think it would be best to read book one first to get a deeper understanding the characters and their backgrounds.

I did like the strong female lead. Her life is on the line here, right at the start, as the previous book’s wrap up slowly comes unraveled with the escape of Harlot Grace. Alia takes it pretty well in stride and, although she has very believable moments of worry and certainly has flaws, she doesn’t let that stop her from her ultimate goal. She’s a good, strong woman who does whatever she needs to in order to get the job done. She’s the best part of this book.

The author writes the book with plenty of details and the setting is its own character. Despite a few editing errors, I was able to read it very smoothly from start to finish.

I do honestly wish I’d read book one first, but other than that, a decent read. And I’d definitely go see it in the theater!

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The Black Widow’s Prey by N. S. Wikarski

The Black Widow’s Prey by N. S. Wikarski
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Historical, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Rose

Consulting detectives Evangeline LeClair and Freddie Simpson face their most challenging case yet when a priceless Egyptian artifact is stolen from a Chicago museum. To make matters worse, the museum’s richest patron is robbed of a diamond necklace shortly afterward. Suspicion immediately falls on a wealthy widow and her scheming son. Trapped in their clutches is the widow’s hapless daughter, about to be forced into a marriage of convenience against her will.

The investigation is complicated by two mysterious strangers who have also taken an interest in the missing Egyptian relic. Solving both thefts will lead Freddie and Evangeline down some strange avenues of inquiry involving secret societies, international criminal masterminds, gentlemen jewel thieves, unexpected ocean voyages, and underworld kingpins. The two sleuths must either solve their case or join the ranks of fatalities numbered among THE BLACK WIDOW’S PREY.

I absolutely adore Victorian mysteries, and this one did not disappoint. All right – it’s set in America (Chicago to be exact) but it’s the same time period, so not being set in England is not a deal breaker. If anything, it adds to the enjoyment because it gives me a chance to learn a bit about the history of Chicago I was not familiar with.

If there is any complaint coming, it’s all on me, because I did not find this series earlier. I loved the characters and cannot wait to go back and read the other two books in the series.

It is definitely character driven, and if you are familiar with my reviews, you know this goes a long way! The author definitely knows her history, but does not hit the reader over the head with it. Yes, you will learn about this time period in Chicago, but you will absorb it almost by osmosis as you get to know the characters and enjoy their relationship, not to mention the way they work together to solve the issues in the book.

Although it’s not necessary to have read the earlier books in the series in order to understand what’s going on, the reader would probably get a richer enjoyment from knowing the background of the characters and how they got together.

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Murder with Strings Attached by Mark Ruetlinger

Murder with Strings Attached by Mark Ruetlinger
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery/Thriller
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by Dryas

Sometimes even the most carefully conceived burglary can take an unexpected turn. Florence Palmer has her eye on concert violinist Aaron Levy’s priceless violin. Unfortunately, she finds it’s already been stolen. Her surprise doubles when the virtuoso she’d planned to burgle offers to hire her to help him steal it back. But they’re not the only ones looking for the missing violin. When Flo inadvertently becomes the prime suspect in a case of murder, she and Aaron need to clear her name. Will they find the real killer and get the violin back to its rightful owner without anyone else, especially themselves, being killed?

This is a rather humorous cozy mystery involving a cleaning maid turned thief, a violinist who hires her to steal his own violin back from a billionaire who stole it and the maid’s best friend.

This story is told in Florence Palmer’s point of view and I love her character and the narrative. It’s smart, humorous, self-deprecating, and shows her confidence in her own skills and pride in her profession. She didn’t intend to become a burglar, but being a maid wasn’t covering the costs of living and she couldn’t afford college. It probably wasn’t the best idea she had to become a housemaid as she states herself: “Maybe that was a mistake because being exposed to all those beautiful and obscenely expensive tchotchkes, all of which my clients could easily do without wore me down.”

Her latest escapade was to steal an extremely rare and expensive violin from a famous violinist, Aaron Levy, although she was smart enough not to try to sell it, only to ransom it back. The start of this strange adventure begins when Flo is found in Aaron’s room and he happens to walk in on her holding his violin. Except, as she learns, that was a fake and the real one had been stolen several days ago. I had to laugh at Flo’s overdramatized thoughts of going to jail and facing some sort of horrible death. Imagine her surprise that instead of him calling the cops he decided to hire her to regain his lost violin. Then he he tells her that he is going to participate in regaining his violin, and Flo’s reaction is just what you would expect, horror. She could only imagine just how things could go with an amateur thief.

Still, she took him up on the offer, especially since he is offering her a huge payout and is going to cover any expenses. Poor Flo’s idea of a quick re-theft of the violin does not go as planned, even though Aaron knows who stole it.

Flo’s best friend, Sara is another wonderfully created character who knows about Flo’s profession but stays out of it as much as possible. Unfortunately for her, she tends to get dragged into them when Flo needs to get a quick getaway. She has a bubbly personality and enjoys the fact that she will get to go sightseeing, staying at a fancy hotel, and buying souvenirs without having to pay for it.

At first Flo thought it would be a breeze to get the violin from the thug that was hired to steal it, a man named Martin. To her horror and dismay instead of finding a violin, she finds a dead man in Martin’s apartment and is caught by the cops standing over the body. I ended up laughing again at Flo’s renewed frantic thoughts of being in the jail and what would happen next. I love how her mind works; it seems to either go to the best of things or to the worst of things. She’s just lucky that the man she is working for has money in spades who is willing to bail her out.

Aaron is another fun quirky character who also has a sense of humor that matches Flo’s Who else would hire a burglar they find in their room instead of contacting the police about his missing violin? He has a boyish air and even though he knows there are risks, he can’t help but feel like he is on a grand adventure. I can’t blame him as he was a child prodigy and spent his childhood practicing, giving recitals, or traveling. There is also a small romance between Flo and Aaron, but the reader is not sure if this will turn out to become more of a stable relationship or a little fun whenever they can get together.

They make a great trio of friends, and it does make me sad that Aaron confessed that he hadn’t many friends besides Flo and Sara since he was always so busy. There are many sweet moments where they share hugs and kisses on the cheek. This is a relationship that I believe will stand the test of time.

This is a wonderful cozy mystery with fun characters and a fun plot that has so many twists and turns you’ll get dizzy. The ending throws a few interesting facts to light and I love how Flo seems to have a magic charm for luck or something since even as she gets into trouble, she somehow manages to get out of it.

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Related By Murder by Jo A. Hiestand

Related By Murder by Jo A. Hiestand
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Rose

From the moment ex-police detective Michael McLaren arrives at his friend’s house, he’s plunged into a nightmare of a case. Two men, hanged a year apart, each killed on a Good Friday. A barrister. A solicitor. Related careers. Related by murder. Related motives?

Pottery shards, a torn newspaper article, and biscuits are found in each man’s pocket. What do they signify? And the blackmail letters Melanie receives… Are they related to the murders, or are they separate, terrifying in their own way?

Professions, calendar date, McLaren’s attack. Could it all be entwined? Or is the motive for murder something else, something so secret that keeping it is worth attempting a third one?

Ms. Hiestand has done it again! Somehow I’ve managed to miss a book or two in the series, and they are on my list to pick up. Not because you need them to understand what is going on in this book, but because I love the characters and want to fill in the gaps.

It was good to see McLaren again and his friend Jamie, and I was very happy to see him moving on with his life. I loved the character of Melanie and can’t wait to go back and see how they met, as well as how their relationship has progressed. As much as I love the mystery aspect of this series, I am drawn back to them over and over again by the characters. Ms. Hiestand does such a good job of bringing them to life – even the secondary characters!

As always, the mystery was top-rate. I have to admit I was caught off-guard…good job with that! I always love it when an author manages to surprise me with the culprit.

Thanks for another outstanding read, Ms. Hiestand!

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Pumpkin Pies and Potions by Polly Holmes – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Polly Holmes will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

NOTE: The book is on sale for only $0.99 on Kindle or FREE on Kindle Unlimited at Amazon.

Witches, cats, pumpkin pies and murder!

I’m Evelyn Grayson and if you’d told me by the time I was 23, I’d have lost both my parents in a mysterious accident, moved in with the coolest Aunt ever, lived in a magical town, and I was a witch, I would have said you were crazy. Funny thing is, you’d be right.

Camille Stenson, the grumpiest woman in Saltwater Cove is set on making this year’s Halloween celebrations difficult for everyone, but when she turns up dead and my best friend is on the suspect list, I have no choice but to find out whodunit and clear her name.

Amongst the pumpkin carving, abandoned houses, and apple bobbing, it soon becomes apparent dark magic is at play and I must use all my newfound witches’ abilities to find the killer before another spell is cast.

Step into Evelyn Grayson’s magical world in the first book of the Melting Pot Café series, a fun and flirty romantic paranormal cozy mystery where the spells are flowing, and the adventure is just beginning.

If you like witty witches, cheeky talking cats, and magical murder mysteries, then you’ll love Polly Holmes’ light-hearted Melting Pot Café series.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Oh, my goodness, breakfast smells divine,” I said, bounding down the stairs two at a time toward the lip-smacking scent streaming from the kitchen. Rubbing my grumbling stomach, I peeked over Aunt Edie’s shoulder at the green gooey concoction boiling on the stove. I’ve been living with my aunt for the past eleven years since my parents died, and not once have I questioned her cooking abilities. Until now. I folded my arms and leant against the kitchen bench. “I know it smells amazing but are you sure it’s edible because it sure as heck doesn’t look like it.”

Aunt Edie frowned and her eyebrows pulled together. Her classic pondering expression. She snapped her fingers and looked straight at me with her golden honey-brown eyes glowing like she’d just solved the world’s climate crisis.

“Popcorn. I forgot the popcorn. Evelyn, honey be a dear and grab me the popcorn from the second shelf in the pantry. The caramel packet, not the plain.”

Caramel popcorn for breakfast? That’s a new one.

I shrugged. “Sure.” Walking into Aunt Edie’s pantry was like walking into the potions classroom at Hogwarts. Every witch’s dream pantry. Normal food on the left-hand side and on the right, every potion ingredient a witch could possibly need, clearly labelled in its allocated spot. Aunt Edie would always say: a place for everything and everything in its place.

“I can’t believe Halloween is only three days away,” I called, swiping the caramel popcorn bag off the shelf. Heading back out, the hunger monster growing in my stomach grumbled, clearly protesting the fact I still hadn’t satisfied its demand for food.

About the Author:

Polly Holmes is the cheeky alter ego of Amazon best-selling author, P.L. Harris. When she’s not writing her next romantic suspense novel as P.L. Harris, she’s planning the next murder in one of Polly’s mysteries.

Polly’s award-winning Cupcake Capers Series is rich in storyline and location with characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. She publishes her cozy mystery books with Gumnut Press. Pumpkin Pies and Potions is the first in her new paranormal cozy series.

Cupcakes and Corpses was a finalist in the Oklahoma RWA’s 2019 IDA International Digital Awards, short suspense category. Cupcakes and Curses claimed second place and Cupcakes and Cyanide gained third place making it a clean sweep in the category.

Website | Instagram | BookBub |
Facebook | Danger, Mystery and Romance with a hint of Cozy Sweetness: Reader Group
The book is on sale for only $0.99 on Kindle or FREE on Kindle Unlimited at Amazon.

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Lacey Goes to Tokyo by C.H. Lyn

Lacey Goes to Tokyo by C.H. Lyn
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/suspense
Length: Full Length (253 pg)
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

International travel means international danger.

Lacey Devaine is a four-year veteran of a spy ring which fronts as an exclusive escort service, Miss Belle’s Travel Guides. Maintaining her cover is Lacey’s number one priority to protect the integrity of the operation she works for.

While on assignment in Tokyo, a nosy newspaper reporter threatens to blow the lid off a scandal that will put dozens of innocent lives at risk. To protect her cover, Miss Belle is called in to act on intelligence Lacey has uncovered.

Can these beautiful, intelligent, and deadly women complete this assignment in time and emerge unscathed? Or will this mission be their last?

What a great start to a new series!  Told in alternating fist person POVs  (Miss Belle and Lacey), this is an exciting introduction to Miss Belle’s Travel Guides and their undercover missions.

The premise of the story is intriguing. Miss Belle and her partner own an exclusive escort service (as a cover for her girls traveling, she writes travel guides), and the escort service serves as a front for their real job.

In this first book we learn some things about Lacey and Belle’s backgrounds and the way the business works. There are other women that I hope will be featured in future books. The characters are all three dimensional, and I love the fact that the book also deals with serious subjects in addition to being fun.

The descriptions are wonderful… I felt like I was actually there (and I would love to have Lacey’s wardrobe.. just saying).  There is non-stop, page turning action that had me stay up way too late finishing the book. I could absolutely see this as a TV series!

This series is definitely going on my auto-buy list.



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Crimson at Cape May by Randy Overbeck

Crimson at Cape May by Randy Overbeck
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (309 pgs)
Rated: 4 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

No matter how far you run, you can never really escape a haunted past.

Darrell Henshaw—teacher, coach, and paranormal sensitive—learned this lesson the hard way. Now, with his job gone and few options, he heads for Cape May to coach a summer football camp. The resort town, with gorgeous beaches, rich history and famous Victorian mansions, might just be the getaway he needs. Only, no one told him Cape May is the most haunted seaport on the East Coast.
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Darrell Henshaw, the paranormal-sensitive first introduced in Overbeck’s Blood on the Chesapeake returns in another intriguing mystery, Crimson At Cape May.

Henshaw, caught in a difficult and unfair personal situation, is confronted with an old wrong, possibly a crime. We see him struggle to cope with both intrigue and ghosts as he sets about solving a missing-person case that might reveal a crime.

Henshaw’s character is immediately interesting, and his surroundings are so well described that the story is for me, completely believable. I fear that fans of mysteries might shy from picking up a book with that one word attached: paranormal. Yet, this mystery-lover was completely engaged by the intrigue and I suspect that fans of the paranormal will be entirely satisfied with this tale, as well.

Weirdly enough, it is some of the secondary characters, (especially those who seem to hate Henshaw) who help create a very ‘real’ environment. Oh, sure… the friends, Sara, Al, and Cassie are all important and it seems nothing speaks truer than hate, blame, and rage. And, of course, Henshaw hears how ruthless townfolk believe he is. And what the love of his life thinks of him… no giveaways here, but know: Emotions stomp their way out of this one!

Of course, there is something of a romance in this one, but the main story here is everything. Crimson at Cape May delivers an unpredictable mystery along with a powerful look at people, too.

The Queen’s Man by Sharon Penman

The Queen’s Man by Sharon Penman
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Epiphany, 1193: the road out of Winchester was hidden by snow, and Justin de Quincy was making slow progress when he heard the first faint shout. It came again, louder and clearer, a cry for help. Spurring his stallion, de Quincy raced toward the source.

But he was already too late. As the two assailants fled, de Quincy cradled the dying man, straining to make out his whispered words. “They did not get it,” he rasped. “Promise me. You must deliver this letter to her. To the queen.”

Eleanor of Aquitaine sits on England’s throne. At seventy, she has outlived the husband with whom she had once scandalized the world. But has she also outlived her favorite, her first-born son? Richard Lionheart, England’s king, has been missing these last months. It is rumored that he is dead. Many think his youngest brother plots to steal the crown. Only Eleanor’s fierce will can keep John from acting on his greed. Only a letter, splattered with the blood of a dying man murdered on the Winchester road, can tell her if Richard still lives.

With the same sure touch she has brought to her historical fiction, Sharon Kay Penman turns to the mystery form. Setting her story in a period she captured brilliantly in earlier novels, she introduces Justin de Quincy. Bastard-born, de Quincy is the son of a high cleric who never acknowledged him, bestowing on the boy–in lieu of name or fortune–only an education. As it happens, it is a gift that will take young de Quincy into the very centers of power–and into the heart of danger, making him the Queen’s man.
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It’s Epiphany of 1193 and after learning some recent truths that shake up his whole life, Justin De Quincy is at a loss what to do. On the road, he is witness to a brutal killing in what he first assumes is a random robbery. Justin offers the dying man solace and aid – and is given a blood-soaked letter destined for Eleanor of Aquitaine, a missive that will change the course of Justin’s life forever. Now on a highly secret mission for the Queen, with no knowledge of who can be trusted or what path is safest to tread, Justin’s life careens onto a completely different course.

I need to admit up front I’m not a massive reader of Historical stories. Sure, I love some Regency romance (particularly Amanda Quick) when I’m in the mood, and I’ll dabble occasionally in other styles of historical fiction. But I’m usually not keen and find they miss the mark with me. The only other author I generally find an exception to this rule is Sharon Penman. Her epics (particularly the Plantagenet series and the Welsh Princes series) are enormous tomes and well, well worth the time and effort to read them through carefully. Here Be Dragons is still one of my favorite books ever.

All that gushing aside, Penman tends to write enormous books that take a large effort to read. Her Queen’s Man series (four regular sized novels) are a marked difference and in some instances a welcome relief. These stories are much more digestible, they’re a regular paperback length and best of all they are basically a regular Medieval Mystery style of story. For readers just wanting a spot of historical fiction they are ideal and an excellent way to be introduced to Penman’s excellent characterizations and writing style.

The historical setting and accuracy are still very strongly woven through the stories – readers wanting a clean, wholesome and “whitewashed” style of history setting won’t find that here. There are public hangings, lepers and beggars and plenty of treachery and political intrigue. Penman does not tone down her style or historical details just to make the story more palatable for readers wanting a sweet and happy reading escape – but neither does she dwell or give too much gruesome detail to this harsh and often uninviting time period. I feel she makes an excellent balance between what were the realities of the time and a reader wanting a good read.

The plot itself is fairly standard. The Queen charges Justin after reading the missive into investigating the death he witnessed and seeing if there was deeper treachery lurking behind the seemingly simple murder-robbery. The real joy – aside from the exceptional detail to history and day-to-day life and realities that the book shares – is in the vibrant cast of characters and how they all slot together. Penman has managed to condense the joy and addictive qualities of her enormous epics into a bite-sized regular paperback sized story and I love this series simply because it’s so much easier to access.

Readers looking for a realistic and exceptionally researched and detailed historical novel with a solid mystery and a slew of royal and political shenanigans should find this story exceptional. I also adored the strong cast of characters and found the plot – while not overly taxing – to be engaging and well paced. Recommended.

Wired by the FBI by Glenn Painter

Wired by the FBI by Glenn Painter
Publisher: Austin Macauley Publishers
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense
Length: Full Length (324 pages)
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Rose

Christian Romano lives his life as a con-artist, burglar, drug dealer, and a ladies’ man, using his good looks to con wealthy women out of jewels and money. When he is arrested and jailed in one of the most violent jails in the U.S. (Cook County in Chicago), a steamy affair begins with a nympho female jail guard. When he loses control of the romance, Christian must end the affair by reporting her to Internal Affairs. It turns out that she is already under suspicion for supplying drugs to various gang members inside the jail. He has to decide if he is “”rogue”” enough to help set her up for arrest. Meanwhile, the FBI wants to recruit Christian to gather information against a sadist ex-cop, Scott Mason, who has been arrested for murder. The risk? Christian must wear a wire and testify. The reward? Witness protection for Christian and his girlfriend and a modification of his prison sentence. Will Christian risk his life for a chance at freedom? Will the female sheriff “”get even”” with him? Or will his life end at the hands of the jail’s drug lords or a lunatic former cop?

This book is not my normal read. I’m not an avid true crime aficionado (though I do enjoy reading Ann Rule on occasion). There was something about this book that pulled me in. And, I could hardly put it down. It is very well written and the author really made me feel for the predicaments Christian found himself in. Granted, a lot of them were his own fault, but there were still times where he was boxed in with only one way to go.

Christian is not a likable person. The way he treated his girlfriend (he “loved” her, but there was no way he was turning down any female who came onto him) made me see red. But, even so, I couldn’t stop reading this book. It was very much like watching a train wreck to see Christian’s life come together and unravel time and again.

I normally really want a positive ending in my books. This one is based on a true story and, as we know, true life doesn’t always end up the way we want, with all the story lines and plot points tied up neatly. I could see this as a docudrama… but it would have to be on HBO. It’s just too much (too much sex, violence, language, etc) for network TV.

If you are a fan at all of true crime stories, do yourself a favor and pick this up.

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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.