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.
June 9, 2009
Until she was twenty-six, Jody Linder felt suspicious of happiness.
She hated that about herself, because it tended to sour some otherwise pretty damn fine moments, but this was Rose, Kansas, after all. Only the year before, a pencil tornado had dropped down and killed three people only a few miles from her hometown. A tornado, when the sun was shining! In the winter, there were ice storms. In the summer, there were grass fires. At all times, people she knew went bankrupt, lost their homes, their ranches, their jobs. Or, they died just when you least expected them to. A person could, for instance, belong to a nice family living an ordinary life in a small town in the middle of nowhere, and on some innocent Saturday night, violent men could drop in like those tornadoes and turn those nice people into the dead stars of a Truman Capote book. Such things happened. That wasn't paranoia. It was a terrible fact that Jody knew better than anybody--or at least better than ...
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).
Full Review (996 words).
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...
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