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The Scent of Rain and Lightning

A Novel

By Nancy Pickard

The Scent of Rain and Lightning
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  • Hardcover: May 2010,
    336 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2011,
    352 pages.

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Duane F. (cape girardeau, MO) (02/06/10)

The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard
With all the fury the title conveys, this book thrusts the reader into a story of one family's power over a small town. The Linder family members are the pillars of the community. But now their past history races against the coming storm, which will once again impact the whole town.

As with most small towns, the Linder's lives are intertwined with people's misconceptions of good and evil, have and have not, and love and betrayal. As the storm clouds begin to gather, Jody Linder's world is rocked by the news that the man who murdered her father twenty three years ago, has been released from prison on a legal technicality and is headed directly for her.

As Jody struggles to understand what really happened that night when her father died and her mother went missing, she is faced with the fact that she must re-evaluate her family and herself. The town, long silent about what they witnessed, must also own up to the truth about themselves and how they see the Linders.

This was a book I found hard to put down. It is written with beauty and symbolism. The austere plains allow a coming storm to be viewed from a great distance and not fully comprehend its magnitude. Thunder and lightning give only glimpses of enlightenment, and Nancy Pickard use of how we perceive what we want to see, make this book intriguing and give us much to think about. Her characters have depth and allow us to understand their actions even while we question their motives. This book should be well received and passed on from friend to friend. It would be a good book club read.
Marge B. (Dunedin, FL) (02/04/10)

Hard to put this book down
Nancy Pickard never disappoints, and this new mystery is engaging and hard to put down. She develops the characters slowly, shifting your suspicions and yet surprising you at the end. She's a wonderful writer, moving the plot and the characters along, shifting the pace and the focus to keep painting the picture of relationships in a small town. Wonderful. Just write more like this Nancy!
Rebecca J. (Knoxville, TN) (02/03/10)

The scent of rain and lightning by Nancy Pickard
The book begins with Jody discovering that her parents' murderer is being released after 27 years from prison to receive a new trial because of the police withholding crucial evidence at the trial. The book immediately goes back to the past and relates the story up to the present. The mystery is intriguing and the descriptions of Kansas are very real. The ending is a little pat but very satisfying.
Jeanette B. (Visalia, CA) (01/29/10)

The Scent of Rain and Lightening
I could not put this book down. It is a mystery read with so many questioning angles. I liked how the author developed the characters, especially the relationship between the grandmother and grand-daughter. If you like mysteries this is a five star one. I know my book club would not care for the violence and language, but if you can tolerate that, it is a very entertaining read.
Nancy, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC (01/27/10)

Scent of Rain and Lightening
A beautifully written story of a small town, a powerful family and a long ago murder that continues to effect the lives of those involved

Jody Linder has spent most of her life thinking she knew who killed her father and longing to know what happened to her mother that stormy night 26 years earlier.

One beautiful summer Kansas day events begin which reveal new truths and which compel Jody to uncover the dangerous truth of her family's past.

This will be a Store Pick when it is released and would make a great book club book.
Becky M. (Crumpler, NC) (01/27/10)

The Scent of Rain and Lightning
I love a good story. Even more, I love a good mystery. But, I confess, I'm a snob. Not only do I expect a page turner but also a novel that is well-written, an intelligent endeavor that anticipates intelligent readers. Nancy Pickard's The Scent of Rain and Lightning fulfills my expectations. This novel wraps a plot of twists and turns around characters that are alive with complications and nuances. These characters are themselves a collection of stories, embodying the good and evil that exists in all of us. The plot weaves its way across the pages as electrically as the storms that advance towards Rose, Kansas, bearing with them the heat of passion, the violence of revenge, and the rains of love. I have not read Pickard before, but I'm on the way to the library for more!
Karen B. (Pittsburgh, PA) (01/27/10)

Tragedy Revisits Powerful Family in Rural Kansas
When a killer is released from prison and granted a re-trial, Jody Linder is forced to reexamine the murder of her parents over twenty years ago. The characters who inhabit Rose, Kansas ring true; especially those most affected by the murder (the Linders and Crosbys). The reader is drawn in from page one, as Jody's story unfolds. Nancy Pickard skillfully employs the use of flashbacks to maintain suspense and the reader is rewarded with a great ending.

The author has created some wonderful characters; the most appealing is Annabelle Linder, Jody's grandmother. She exhibits grace while recovering from a horrible tragedy and is the glue holding the Linder family together.

This book is recommended for those who enjoy a good mystery. I enjoyed time spent with the Linder family; it was over all too soon.
Dorothy M. (Maynard, MA) (01/24/10)

The Past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past.
Lots of mysteries seem based on William Faulkner's quote and the latest from Nancy Pickard is another story where things that happened years before have come back to haunt everyone involved. Twenty three years ago when she was three, Jody Linder's father was murdered and her mother disappeared. Her family - the richest and most powerful in town - helped to convict a drunken ne'er-do-well of the murder and he was sent to a maximum security prison for 60 years. Jody, raised by her grandparents and extended family, has come back to teach at the local high school when she learns that the conviction was overturned and the man she has hated for years will be given a new trial.

Nancy Pickard has created a wonderful sense of place in this book, set in Kansas in ranch country and, in the Linders and in Billy Crosby (the convicted killer) and his family has developed believable characters.

She has also created an interesting discussion of what happens in a small town when a single family has such power. Is that power alone enough to corrupt others in the town.

I really enjoyed this book, as I have many of Nancy Pickard's, and would recommend it. And while she plays fair and I was pretty sure of the outline of what happened, she managed to surprise me.
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