Scorched Grace

Margot Douaihy

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

Sister Holiday, a chain-smoking, heavily tattooed, queer nun, puts her amateur sleuthing skills to the test in this “unique and confident” debut crime novel.

ISBN

9781638930242

Language

English

Page count

320

Edition

Hardcover

Sale date

February 21, 2023

Dimensions

6 x 9

About the Book

Sister Holiday, a chain-smoking, heavily tattooed, queer nun, puts her amateur sleuthing skills to the test in this “unique and confident” debut crime novel (Gillian Flynn).


When Saint Sebastian’s School becomes the target of a shocking arson spree, the Sisters of the Sublime Blood and their surrounding community are thrust into chaos. Unsatisfied with the officials’ response, sardonic and headstrong Sister Holiday becomes determined to unveil the mysterious attacker herself and return her home and sanctuary to its former peace. Her investigation leads down a twisty path of suspicion and secrets in the sticky, oppressive New Orleans heat, turning her against colleagues, students, and even fellow Sisters along the way.

Sister Holiday is more faithful than most, but she’s no saint. To piece together the clues of this high-stakes mystery, she must first reckon with the sins of her checkered past-and neither task will be easy.

An exciting start to Margot Douaihy’s bold series for Gillian Flynn Books that breathes new life into the hard-boiled genre, Scorched Grace is a fast-paced and punchy whodunnit that will keep readers guessing until the very end.

Reviews

Margot Douaihy’s bold entry into the hardboiled genre revitalizes it for our times. Skillfully plotted, propulsive, and deeply engaged with the communities it represents, Scorched Grace is one of the best crime fiction debuts I’ve come across in a long while.

- Don Winslow, #1 internationally bestselling author of The Power of the Dog and City on Fire

One chapter into Margot Douaihy’s Scorched Grace and you’ll be ready to follow Sister Holiday wherever her instincts take her. Vibrant, crackling and deliciously insubordinate, it’s a mystery full of trapdoors and surprises but with a keen emotional force that leaves you shaken, hooked.

- Megan Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of The Turnout

Douaihy’s prose is fresh and energetic, and she brings the delightfully original character of Sister Holiday vividly to life. Holiday believably leads her own investigation, and the story satisfies right up until the very twisty end.

- Karin Slaughter, New York Times and internationally bestselling author

Harrowing and gorgeously written, with an unforgettable protagonist— Sister Holiday, “the first punk nun”— Margot Douaihy’s Scorched Grace takes readers on a searing journey through faith, fire, and female rage. A brilliant debut mystery.

- Elizabeth Hand, author of Hokuloa Road and Generation Loss

Scorched Grace burns with the wholehearted energy of faith, love, and transgression. Sister Holiday embodies the frailties of faith, the contradictions of humanity, and the joy of sisterhood in all its forms.

- Sophie Ward, Booker Prize longlisted author of Love and Other Thought Experiments

Fearless, ebullient, and twisty as hell, Scorched Grace remixes the crime novel for our current age, and debuts a magnetic noir heroine, whose brash wit and profound soulfulness command our instant and utter devotion.

- Debra Jo Immergut, author of Your Again and The Captives

I inhaled this book. Sister Holiday drew me in with attitude and world-wisdom that, as she herself says, holds a kind of grace; meanwhile the hot, gnarly, beautiful world of New Orleans and all the edgy, intimate characters of the convent, school, and investigation (and, of course, the series of deadly arson attacks that drive Holiday and the book), had me turning the pages. Margot Douaihy gives Sister Holiday a sharp tongue and a body blessed by ink, and in this story Douaihy’s writing is the fuel, the spark, the oxygen. It is the fire and the ashes.

- Elizabeth K Reeder, MacDowell Fellow, author of Archive of Happiness and Ramshackle

I read this is one greedy gulp on a hot August day. I loved it. In the American tradition of hard-boiled detectives, this was full of sweat, heat, and a lingering acrid smoke that pervaded the whole book. I could almost feel the grime under my fingernails as I read it. Sister Holiday is utterly unique – a gold-toothed nun with a history of addictions that still haunts her and a faith that is real, passionate, and anything but saccharine. She is a courageous truth-teller, even when she needs to tell the truth about herself.

- Georgina Clarke, author of the Lizzie Hardwicke series and The Dazzle of the Light

Margot Douaihy’s chain-smoking nun Sister Holiday may be the most original character you’ll come across for quite some time. Douaihy wanted to reclaim pulp tropes for a female protagonist, and I have to say, Sister Holiday is punk AF. Set in New Orleans, Scorched Grace takes place at a Catholic school where an arson attack has harmed several students. Sister Holiday, a fan of detective fiction, is ready to solve the case (or else face suspicion herself).

- Molly Odintz, CrimeReads “The Most Anticipated Crime Books of Fall 2022 (and Beyond!)”