One beautiful summer afternoon, from her bedroom window on the second floor, Jody Linder is unnerved to see her three uncles parking their pickups in front of her parents houseor what she calls her parents house, even though Jay and Laurie Jo Linder have been gone almost all of Jodys life. What is this fearsome thing I see? the young high school English teacher whispers, mimicking Shakespeare. Polished boots, pressed jeans, fresh white shirts, Stetsonsher uncles suspiciously clean visiting clothes are a disturbing sign.
The three bring shocking news: The man convicted of murdering Jodys father is being released from prison and returning to the small town of Rose, Kansas. It has been twenty-six years since that stormy night when, as baby Jody lay asleep in her crib, her father was shot and killed and her mother disappeared, presumed dead. Neither the protective embrace of Jodys uncles nor the safe haven of her grandparents ranch could erase the pain caused by Billy Crosby on that catastrophic night.
Now Billy Crosby has been granted a new trial, thanks in large part to the efforts of his son, Collin, a lawyer who has spent most of his life trying to prove his fathers innocence. As Jody lives only a few doors down from the Crosbys, she knows that sooner or later shell come face-to-face with the man who she believes destroyed her family.
What she doesnt expect are the heated exchanges with Collin. Having grown up practically side by side in this very small town, Jody and Collin have had a long history of carefully avoiding each others eyes. Now Jody discovers that underneath their antagonism is a shared sense of loss that no one else could possibly understand. As she revisits old wounds, startling revelations compel her to uncover the dangerous truth about her familys tragic past.
Engrossing, lyrical, and suspenseful, The Scent of Rain and Lightning captures the essence of small-town Americaits heartfelt intimacy and its darkest secretswhere through struggle and hardship people still dare to hope for a better future. For Jody Linder, maybe even love.
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! (Becky M) (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).
The Kansas City Star - Steve Weinberg
Nancy Pickard ... has written so many first-rate mystery novels (19 so far) that publication of a new one might seem like an occasion for ho-hum. The Scent of Rain and Lightning is anything but ho-hum. Set in a fictional remote Kansas ranching town, it is a "literary" novel in every sense of that word. Well-plotted, clearly written mystery novels are always welcome. A novel that simultaneously qualifies as a gripping read, a master character study and as literary is more than welcome — it is exceedingly rare.
Barnes & Noble
Riveting and dynamic, this moving novel will have readers enthralled from beginning to end.
Starred Review. With exquisite sensitivity, Edgar-finalist Pickard (The Virgin of Small Plains) probes a smoldering cold case...
Booklist - Michele Leber
Starred Review. Pickard shows her storytelling skills, weaving elements of deception, revenge, and romance into a novel with full-bodied characters who deal with tragedy as best they can; Annabelle Linder’s encounter with Crosby’s wife is particularly moving. From an award-winning author, this is engrossing fiction with an eminently satisfying denouement.
Library Journal - Teresa L. Jacobsen
Starred Review . . .a worthy successor to the author’s much-acclaimed The Virgin of Small Plains. Pickard’s superb storytelling transports the reader into the characters’ world, making all too real their dilemmas, their choices, and their willingness to believe the unlikely. Highly recommended.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Elizabeth Predictable? You may be predicting incorrectly. :) The ending is a little predictable, but also a surprise. You will like the story. The story is definitely a page turner. The love and the kindness the Linder family has for everyone draws you into the storyline. I am going to rate it a 4/5... Read More
Rated of 5
by Robin F. (Tucson, AZ) The Scent of Rain and Lightening Fair warning to the reader who starts Nancy Pickard's new book, you will be immediately pulled in to the book and it's all encompassing plot. This is an author who continues to delight, giving us well-developed characters that we learn to know.... Read More
Rated of 5
by Sandra B. (Fremont, OH) Fragrance of mystery The use of weather in The Scent of Rain and Lightning evokes the setting and drives the story in this remarkable book by Nancy Pickard. The introduction of the previous family mystery and current day events intertwine to ensnare the reader and hold... Read More
Rated of 5
by Therese X. (CALERA, AL) The Scent of Rain and Lightning The quiet town of Rose, Kansas doesn't sound like it would be a hotbed of high drama. And for twenty years it wasn't. Jody Linder, 23, of the reknown and beloved Linder Ranch clan teaches English and exercises her independent nature despite three... Read More
Rated of 5
by Mary G. (Shreveport, LA) The Scent of Rain and Lightning Nancy Pickard is one of those masterful story tellers who can, in the first 11 pages, tell you the life-defining tragedy of the central character, then flash back to (some of) the events leading up to that tragedy, and keep the reader eagerly... Read More
Rated of 5
by Sue P. (Richardson, TX) Pickard Deserves Every Award She Has Won This book is absolutely no exception. She captures the essence and character of not only small towns and communities, but the spirits and souls of those who inhabit them. Suspenseful and intriguing, she is certain to garner more awards for this... Read More
Nancy Pickard says that the fictional Testament Rocks in The Scent of Rain and Thunder are based on Monument Rocks located in Gove County, Kansas, a few hundred miles west of her home in Merriam, close to Kansas City.
Set in the high plains, Gove County is cut through from west to east by a deep valley caused by the Smoky Hill River, and is lined with geologic splendors such as Castle Rock and Monument Rocks (pictured below).
The 70 foot high limestone formations known as Monument Rocks or the Chalk Pyramids (chalk being a type of limestone), originally formed about 80 million years ago, when the central interior of the US was covered by sea to a depth of several hundred feet. This sea was inhabited by a rich cornucopia of life including fish, turtles, sharks, giant oysters and clams, and swimming reptiles such as plesiosaurs. The sea was also home to...
Two hard-boiled cops dare to cross the thin and dangerous line that separates good and evil as they risk their lives to investigate the suspicious death of one of their own.
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Research shows that 90% of Americans value public libraries(Dec 11 2013) According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, about 90% of Americans aged 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an...