Disclosure: I received an Advanced Reading Copy of The Priest to review.
You know that feeling you get at the end of the best stories? It’s oh-dark-thirty in the morning, you’re exhausted, completely emotionally drained from the wildly unpredictable ride, it hurts to close the book and say goodbye to the characters, and you can’t wait for the next one? Welcome to the moments after closing Tiffany Reisz’s ninth installment of her Original Sinners series, The Priest.
The Priest opens with the death of a local Catholic priest, Father Ike, who appears to have committed suicide and has Nora Sutherland’s business card in his back pocket. At it’s core, the story is a mystery that partners Nora, dominatrix and erotica writer, with a very vanilla private investigator, Cyrus Tremont. Of course, all the subplots and threads of the Nora/Søren/Kingsley/Juliette/Nico family dramas weave throughout the book, and saying anything else about that would be spoilers, so if you’ve read the rest of the series just be assured the core family’s stories continue just as life continues, and it’s wonderful.
There are some new character introduced in The Priest. Cyrus and Nora’s relationship develops from his obvious distaste of a sex worker, which she absolutely relishes, and takes every opportunity to poke at his prejudices, to respect to friendship. The effect of Nora’s friendship on Cyrus’s relationship with his fiancee, Pauline, is fun. Cyrus and Nora’s banter brings much needed humor to the nature of their investigation as it turns darker. As the crew is now living happily in New Orleans, there’s of course a vampire cameo, and a lovely witch I suspect (hope) will show up in Nora’s life in future stories. All of these new folk are written seamlessly and with attention to detail that makes even minor characters feel fully developed: Reisz continues to bring the world she creates fully to life.
Ok, there are some warnings to deliver here. The Priest, like all of the Original Sinners series, is not for the faint-hearted. There are some BDSM scenes (hot ones, to be sure) that could be triggering. There are Catholic Church themes that could also be triggering: this isn’t a light book in any way, and Reisz doesn’t shy away from the hard topics. In addition, her overall themes of exploring the painful complications of real life love from the backdrop of an alternative culture play out in heart wrenching ways here. Søren and Nora have a long past that started when she was fifteen and he was in a position of power over her as her priest, a theme that is both uncomfortable on its face and directly impacted by the main plot of The Priest. In addition, this journey of Nora’s leads her to a decision I honestly never expected, and it’s a tough thing to watch her go through such heartache.
Ultimately, I adored The Priest. I couldn’t put it down and finished it in a day. It’s a beautifully written mystery with humor, excitement, danger, a journey into darkness, and absolutely lust-inducing sex scenes that require a fan (or something) after reading. I loved every word, and haven’t read anything since because I’m not ready to pick up a different world after Tiffany Reisz’s depiction of Nola with the Sinners family.
The Priest releases on April 20th, 2020 in paperback and audio formats through standard retailers, but it has been released early in ebook format, so by all means go pick it up asap.