Blessed Water

A Sister Holiday Mystery

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Pub Date 12 Mar 2024 | Archive Date Not set
Zando, Gillian Flynn Books

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Sister Holiday is back with a newly minted PI apprentice certificate, a twisty mystery to solve, and something to prove in this fast-paced, blistering follow-up to Scorched Grace.

“Sister Holiday is simply a joy of a narrator—and definitely my kind of character: flawed, dark, buoyant, and often laugh-out-loud funny.” —Gillian Flynn, Gillian Flynn Books

Tattooed from her neck to her toes, and with a gold tooth as sharp as her wisecracks, Sister Holiday struggles to stay on the righteous path. Never one to make things easy for herself, she’s committed to taking her permanent vows with the Sisters of the Sublime Blood and joining former fire inspector Magnolia Riveaux’s latest venture, Redemption Detective Agency—both in service of satisfying her eternal quest for answers.

When Sister Holiday and Riveaux are stood up by their very first client, they arrive at their rendezvous location, only to find the body of a priest floating in the swollen Mississippi river, and with it, Redemption’s next case. It’s significantly more gruesome than their original mission to catch a philandering husband in the act, but Sister Holiday feels called on by God to hunt down the murderer and keep her community safe.

Over the course of a torrential rainstorm flooding New Orleans during Easter weekend, Sister Holiday and Riveaux uncover extortion, murder, kidnapping, and corruption. And as the downpours get harder, levees break, and the floodwaters rise. Once again, Sister Holiday finds herself in the deep end. Solving this puzzle will require divine intervention.

Sister Holiday is back with a newly minted PI apprentice certificate, a twisty mystery to solve, and something to prove in this fast-paced, blistering follow-up to Scorched Grace.

“Sister Holiday...

Advance Praise

PRAISE FOR Scorched Grace

“Sister Holiday, the protagonist of Margot Douaihy’s showstopper of a series debut Scorched Grace isn’t what you’d imagine a nun to be like, even in laissez-faire New Orleans . . . I cannot wait to read the sister’s next investigation, of mysteries and of her own self.”

—Sarah Weinman, New York Times

“A whodunnit with an unforgettable mystery solver . . . Sister Holiday isn’t your average nun: She’s a headstrong, thoroughly-tattooed chain smoker who sets off on a one-woman investigation through New Orleans to find out who is behind an arson attack at her school.”

—Jillian Ortiz, TODAY

“The prose really sings . . . Such lyricism in the service of setting the scene betrays the author’s background as an established poet.”

—Jim Ruland, Los Angeles Times

“The book critiqued institutions, foregrounded sexuality and retained some lyricism, without losing the compulsive page-turning playfulness of a breezy read . . . its prose would set Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade or Robert B. Parker’s Spenser at ease.”

—Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune

“Within five pages, I was in love with this novel. The voice is unique and confident, the sense of place deeply present, and the plotting completely assured: every time I was about to ask a question about Sister Holiday, her background, her drive, the mystery—the answer magically appeared. Sister Holiday is simply a joy of a narrator—and definitely my kind of character: flawed, dark, buoyant, and often laugh-out-loud funny. I feel like she and Camille Preaker from Sharp Objects should go on a road trip together. This novel is so much more than a mystery (which is my favorite kind of mystery), it's an exploration of faith, love, and the worthy struggle to be a better human. I just loved it!”

—Gillian Flynn, Gillian Flynn Books

PRAISE FOR Scorched Grace

“Sister Holiday, the protagonist of Margot Douaihy’s showstopper of a series debut Scorched Grace isn’t what you’d imagine a nun to be like, even in laissez-faire New Orleans...

Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781638930266
PRICE $27.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

The Sister Holliday series is addicting and beautiful. I cannot put down these books, finishing them in a day flat because I want answers. The characters feel palpable and interesting, each complex human beings we cannot understand fully. It's refreshing to see a character who openly does not fit within the stereotype of religion feeling as strongly about religion as she does– she knows that her God has her back, tattoos, gold tooth, private investigating, and all. While I did prefer the first in the series, the sequel delivers on promises made in the first book, and provides a tense, gripping mystery with quite the body count.

A gripping, beautiful novel. As beautiful as it is engaging. Douaihy does a spectacular job painting nuance, complex characters that you root for BECAUSE of their flaws.

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Sister Holiday is back with a second book. Anyone who loved the first book will automatically love this one too. Anyone who hasn't read the first one can jump right in without feeling like they've missed something. Sister Holiday is not your typical nun. She's fled from a wild, dissolute life in New York, to New Orleans, where she has taken provisional vows in the Order of the Sisters of the Sublime Blood. When she finds her parish priest dead in the marina near the convent, she uses her sleuthing skills (and her new PI certificate) to solve the murder, uncovering lots of other unsavory stuff in the process. Great mystery, and Sister Holiday is a great character.

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I was absolutely thrilled to receive an eARC of this book, especially after getting to read Scorched Grace in advance as well! What I loved about the first book was Sister Holiday's wit, strength, and resolve to get to the bottom of the mysterious death(s) surrounding her while grappling with her past and her sense of self and that certainly carried through to this book as well. The chapters were simultaneously snappy and full of gorgeous lyrical prose and water imagery which lended itself well to the pacing (this was my only small drawback with the first book and I didn't have that same issue here). What really made Blessed Water stand out above Scorched Grace for me was the cast of characters - more characters were brought to the forefront and given significant roles to play. I read most of this book in two or three large chunks and honestly, I think that's the best way to do it because you will absolutely want to know what comes next.

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Glad I got to read the second book in this series early. Very exciting and well written. Think I liked it better than the first. Now I need the next one. ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

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I will read anything that Margot puts out and was so excited to get the opportunity to read this piece of work early (thank you NetGalley). Including this book, I appreciate sequels that do not spoon feed the reader with plot points from the previous installment and is able to move the story along effectively with minor callbacks. This book was captivating and surprisingly witty with a strong multi-faceted character. The tone of the this installment felt similar to the previous and overall I really like Sister Holiday, her story and enjoyed the other supporting characters in this series.

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I actually found this book quite a lot stronger than Scorches Grace (which I gave a 3.5 to). The characters felt more real, the mystery felt more modern, and I felt as though I knew the chars more. Thanks for the arc

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Sister Holiday was besieged by fire in the first book of the series. In this, NoLa is flooded by a brutal 3 day storm, Father Reese is found dead in a body of water, one unlikely character is finally baptized, and a long lost brother suddenly appears.

The noir PI toeam of Riveaux and Holiday are gritty, and real, with Sister Holiday's faith, devotion, and queerness tested over and over in these books. The local church and Diocese continue to have much to answer for, yet Holiday remains devoted.

Strong female characters who brook no BS are my favorite; adding in another cerebral yet raw mystery takes it up another level.

I can smell the nicotine and feel the humidity in this book. Brava!

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This is a great sequel to Scorched Grace. We start off quickly in the next mystery in which Sister Holiday who is now a PI Apprentice for Detective Riveaux, who left the police force, and is now a PI, work together to solve the murder of Father Reese. As we expect from Sister Holiday, lunacy takes place. The clues are overwhelming and cause chaos at the Church. An epic storm hits New Orleans and it adds a certain depth to the travails that take place. The Sisters of the Sublime Blood give us insights to their lives and the diocese as they provide some details into the Catholic Churches corrupt ways and the abuses it hides within itself. It is a galvanizing account of its crimes and Sister Holiday will get to the bottom of it here.
Even with this dark subject we get the grit but. also see the faith that permeates Sister Holiday and I like her because of this and her flaws.
Definitely a good follow up. I look forward to her life as the newest PI nun.

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2SLGBTQIA+ Mystery in which a tattooed nun and her PI partner as they investigate two cases; a priest found floating dead in NOLA's Mississippi river and another priest who's gone missing.

4/5 stars: This is the second entry in Douaihy's Sister Holiday Mystery series, which is a 2SLGBTQIA+ Mystery that takes place in New Orleans, Louisiana and features a very unique nun. She's tattooed, sports a gold tooth, smokes and is an apprentice PI all without missing a beat in her holy duties and the music classes she teaches. With plenty of twists and turns, Douaihy has crafted a well balanced mystery that will leave you pondering the whodunit until the final reveal. Additionally, Douaihy's writing and character work is stellar; the characters are diverse, well-rounded and complex while remaining incredibly likable. It's great to catch up with the Sisters of the Sublime Blood, the teachers and students of St Sebastian's and her investigative partner former fire inspector Magnolia Riveaux. Douaihy tackles some very sensitive topics, so take care and check the CWs. While you could read this as a stand-alone, you'll gain so much more by reading this series from the beginning; so be sure to pick up book one, Scorched Grace.

I received this eARC thanks to NetGalley and Zando, Gillian Flynn Books in exchange for an honest review. Publishing dates are subject to change.

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