Advance reader reviews of The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard.

The Scent of Rain and Lightning

A Novel

By Nancy Pickard

The Scent of Rain and Lightning
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • Published in USA  Apr 2010,
    336 pages.

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There are currently 23 member reviews
for The Scent of Rain and Lightning
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  • Dorothy M. (Owatonna, MN)


    The Scent of Rain and Lightning
    Set in the small town of Rose, Kansas, this is the story of Jody, whose father was murdered and her mother disappeared when she was three. It opens when she is 26 and flashes back to the fateful day. Well-developed, interesting characters made me feel involved and the plot included enough twists and turns to keep me involved. I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys a mystery that has a main character who struggles with her family tragedy as well as tells a good story.
  • Teresa G. (Larue, TX)


    Wanted to Like This Book
    The characters were very well defined and the plot was conceived with enough twists and turns to keep me reading until the very end. I really wanted to like this book, but I disliked most of the characters so much that I could hardly wait for it to be over with. I realize they were supposed to be good ol' boy, salt-of-the-earth type people, but they just seemed self-righteous and full of themselves to me. Only one character was completely likable, and he was the antagonist's son. So, although I wish I could give it 5 stars as she is a good writer, I'm giving her only 3.
  • Mary P. (Bellingham, WA)


    Scent of Rain and Lightning
    I enjoyed this book; once I was hooked it became a compulsion to read in one sitting. It becomes a whodunit mystery and love story, but it also deals with human behavior, how we judge people by past behavior and conclude that that judgment is consistent at all times, with tragic consequences. Even though the story is not told in first person, Jody Linder is our guide; through her observations and thought we understand this aspect of the story. This novel is a good read, on the bases of plot, character, being thought provoking, and not least, written in a style which draws the reader into Rose, Kansas, and the Crosby and Linder families.
  • Rosemary T. (San Antonio, TX)


    The Scent of Rain and Lightning
    Starting a little slow, the story line quickly escalates keeping the reader guessing until the end. The author successfully captures the emotions of a small town whose livelihood depends on the success of the largest ranch in the area. Both look out for the other with a loyalty that can go too far as the ending of this book reveals. Mistakes were made, or overlooked, when a man is quickly convicted and jailed for a murder. Only when the conviction is overturned 23 years later is the town and the man's daughter forced to face hidden secrets. Although I enjoyed this read, I was disturbed by the the absence of the main character's maternal grandparents. In my opinion, this relationship, even if not very desirable, would have completed the story.
  • Norman G. (Diamond Bar,


    Uneven beginning but regained form at the end
    I had previously read and enjoyed greatly The Virgin on Small Plains by Nancy Packard and loved the book. I had expected the same level in this novel but for the first 100 pages I felt disappointed as no character really seemed to attach themselves. I felt unconcerned with the events that happened and everyone seemed too good to be true or evil in the extreme. However, after the main character became more developed, the story progressed well with unexpected turns that still held believability. I rated the book a 5, but it is a step below the Virgin of Small Plains.
  • Elizabeth K. (Albany, NY)


    The Scent of Rain and Lightning
    Jody Linder, a young woman of 23, lost her parents to murder 20 years ago. Now the convicted murderer is out on a technicality and we are looking at this crime from many different angles. This is a well-written and easy to read book loaded with all sorts of possible outcomes and it is a pleasure to ruminate on how this crime will be solved and who is actually involved. Great characterization and it keeps you in suspense til the very end. I thoroughly enjoyed it!!!
  • Hannah J. (Chicago, IL)


    Forgiveness Enhances this Beautiful Kansas Landscape
    If you want to read a mystery (with plenty of suspense and surprises) that feels like it could happen to you or your neighbors at any given moment, this is the book for you.

    Ms. Pickard's writing is rock solid and engaging. She does an excellent job crafting her characters. They feel real. How they murder and react to murder is grounded and well thought out.

    What I liked best about this novel is the beautiful panoramic view she paints of this Kansas town and it's surrounding landscape. Breathtaking. Makes me want to go to Kansas on vacation.

    If you're not a mystery reader (and I'm not) this book probably won't convince you to start reading them. The plots always seem contrived to me. However, I commend Ms. Pickard for tackling the themes of forgiveness and the human capacity to admit what's right when once we saw it wrong.

    I probably wouldn't pick this one up at the bookstore, but it was a worthwhile read.
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