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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Holy Water by Robert Schwab revolves around a protagonist named Doctor Landon Ratliff and a string of life-changing events that come into play while in New Orleans. Landon is a surgical resident on the path to becoming a urologist and his journey includes a conference in the Big Easy. He is there with his roommate, friend, and fellow surgeon Doctor Enrique Flaco, who is also a point-of-view character. While out on a run, Landon is triggered emotionally by a haunting phrase that is spoken by a man being arrested. This becomes a catalyst for everything that follows, as Landon struggles with some serious daddy issues, a professional crossroad, and a mystery surrounding the illness of a man named Deuce that places the singer somewhere in the middle.
Who knew that necrotizing pancreatitis could be so interesting? Holy Water by Robert Schwab is a story for adults, which my grandfather would jokingly classify as a quarter-life crisis. There are a lot of puzzle pieces in play and Schwab is quite good at dangling a carrot, allowing readers to take a bite not too long after. This story leans heavily into the medical field and some of the descriptors can feel on the verbose side for readers who aren't intrigued by it but as far as character arcs go, Landon's is exceptional. The standout for me was Regula, a zydeco artist and tarot reader who takes command of every scene she is written into, with an alter-ego that makes her complex and wholly authentic. The slow start pays off as Landon's story moves full circle, and in a few days, he is a changed man: the cards never lie, Landon. I very highly recommend Holy Water.