Holy Water

Fiction - Thriller - General
298 Pages
Reviewed on 04/24/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

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.

Pikasho Deka

Holy Water is a slice-of-life drama novel by Robert Schwab. Landon Ratliff is a young and talented physician who wants to make the best of his upcoming trip to New Orleans for a medical gathering that could potentially be a major boost to his burgeoning career. However, after he arrives in the Big Easy, New Orleans starts affecting Landon in a way that he could never have imagined. An encounter with a homeless man lights a spark in Landon that has him questioning his impact on the world. Through this man, Landon meets an enigmatic tarot card reader who enraptures him unlike anyone before. While his best friend wants Landon to accept a generous offer from his father, Landon finds himself mesmerized by the music, culture, and people of the French Quarter.

Does professional success guarantee a life of fulfillment, or is doing whatever makes you happy the ideal way to live life? These are the questions that are touched on in this charming drama by Robert Schwab. Holy Water follows a young man living his idealized version of a perfect life, only to discover himself anew as a free spirit who faces each moment as it comes. Schwab's narrative has a highly realistic quality that makes the story all the more immersive to the reader. The characters feel like people you may have met in real life. Although not primarily plot-driven, the book has its share of surprises that will keep you glued to the pages. I enjoyed it and gladly recommend it.

Diana Lopez

Holy Water by Robert Schwab is a realistic story written from a doctor's perspective who seeks to balance his life and help those in need. In the beginning, Dr. Landon Ratliff travels to New Orleans to attend the Southeastern Urological Society annual meeting. He intended to look for opportunities for career development. However, during a walk through the city, he meets Amede Doucet, a sick and homeless man despised by the paramedics who should be helping him. This meeting makes Landon reconsider his social relationships, family, and work. When he empathizes with Doucet and tries to help him, he is forced to reflect on his priorities in different areas of his life. Landon sees how the medical system has problems, with some doctors acting out of convenience. He knows he can't change the world, but he can try to become a better individual.

I liked Holy Water because it highlights the injustices of society, focusing on doctors with different motivations. While some doctors see their work as routine and are even apathetic, others do everything they can to help. And although it is medically based, technical language is only used at crucial moments, making the story easy to follow. The narration is detailed, especially with the descriptions of the settings. Conversations are fluid, and each character has a unique personality. Robert Schwab combines many aspects of a person's life, and we see Landon not only as a doctor but also as a friend and an individual with varied tastes, including his interest in music. Holy Water is touching and original and shows that life can change at the most unexpected moments.