Scorched Grace

Margot Douaihy

Within five pages, I was in love with this novel. 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. 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.





Page count




Sale date

February 21, 2023


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.


A badass, brilliant queer nun solving a murder mystery in New Orleans? How could I not fall in love with this book? You will, too!

- Mara Wilson

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

Margot Douaihy’s Scorched Grace is pure, hard-boiled delight, and so is its protagonist, Sister Holiday. I can’t wait for the next installment.

- Kelly Link, MacArthur Fellow and bestselling author of Pulitzer Prize finalist Get in Trouble

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

Stunning fiction debut and series launch…This briskly plotted master class in character development makes the most of its New Orleans setting.

- Publishers Weekly, starred review

Holiday is an interesting character, and her story is well plotted.

- Michael Cart, Booklist

A powerful story about religion and sin, family, and secrets…Scorched Grace is a unique and emotional novel, set against the backdrop of New Orleans in all its sticky, sweaty heat and unrelenting beauty and charm…When the ending hits, it is delightfully unexpected, bringing all the plot’s twists and turns to one satisfying finale. Scorched Grace has all of the makings of an award-winning novel, and I see Douaihy skyrocketing to fame. Her novel is similar to creative, renowned works by authors like Douglas Stuart, and Douaihy’s unique and modern writing should receive similar accolades

- Erin Clemence, Mystery & Suspense Magazine

The rough, sarcastic, first-person voice of Scorched Grace seizes the reader in a headlock from the first page… Holiday is prayerful, funny, cruel, and exhausted: in short, excellent company…Though the history of hard-boiled detective novels skews undeniably toward one kind of identity, Scorched Grace blazes a queer path forward for the genre. Here’s praying for a long series with Sister Holiday at the helm

- Laurel Flores Fantauzzo, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

Scorched Grace is brutal and brilliant and one hell of a prose novel debut.

- Elliott Eatinger, Defunkt Magazine

Scorched Grace is like no other book you’ve ever read.

- Gwendolyn Kiste, The Lineup

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!)”

The sacred meets the profane head on in Margot Douaihy’s debut mystery. It’s funny. It’s touching. Its honesty is refreshing, and we hesitate to compare the writing or the plot to anything prior. At times poetic and other moments full of zest. Sister Holiday breathes life into every scene and moment of this book.

- Barnes & Noble Editors, Most Buzzed About 2023 Debuts