The Scent of Rain and Lightning

The Scent of Rain and Lightning

A Novel

Book - 2011
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Written with the wisdom and grace readers have come to expect from the award-winning author of "The Virgin of Small Plains," this brilliantly moving tale is one of family, murder, and redemptive love.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books Trade Paperbacks, 2011
Edition: Random House trade pbk. ed
ISBN: 9780345471024
Branch Call Number: MF PICKARD
Characteristics: 330 pages ; 21 cm


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Jun 09, 2017

Nothing awe-inspiring here, but a good, quick read. I liked the big close-knit family, I liked the small town and ranch settings. The mystery kept me turning the pages and I did not guess who-done-it before it was revealed.

lbarkema Apr 02, 2015

I really enjoyed this book for the most part. The first 2/3 were great but it wrapped up a little too conveniently and quickly for my taste. Pickard could have easily stretched this out to 350-400 pages and I really wish she would have. The back story was great and detailed and I just wish that the present would have had as much detail. I didn't guess the reveal though, which I'm not sure if that's just me or it surprised a lot of people.

Jan 08, 2015

Lots of tension with just a touch of romance. It kept me guessing.

Nov 28, 2014

I remember when "The Scent of Rain and Lightning" first came out about 4 years ago. The cover and title intrigued me and I added it to my "to read" list. For some reason, I never got around to reading it. After finally having the chance to read it, I'm not sure it was worth the wait. I think I was expecting something a bit deeper. The characters seem a bit one-dimensional (or if they have dimension it is pretty stereotypical). The protagonist--Jody--who I should have felt some sympathy for, didn't draw me in. I found I didn't really care (for her sake) whether she found out what happened to her parents. When you don't like your protagonist (or at least feel interested in them--because some protagonists really aren't very likable), it takes a lot away from the reading experience. What did I like? It was fairly fast paced. And, while not the best mystery in the world, I did find myself trying to put the pieces together. If you're on a plane or at the beach, this is a book you can get through quickly.

This is an OK mystery, but I don't feel the need to pick up any of the author's other books.

Nov 01, 2014

Very well written, suspenseful.

Aug 11, 2012

Enjoyed this book, a very nice weekend read. The characters are so vivid, the location appears so real. A bit simple in the whodunnit end however.

tak127 Oct 11, 2011

This book grabs you from the beginning and doesn't disappoint. Well written with wonderful characters.

BookEnthusiast Sep 12, 2011

An unpredictable tale that affects two families in a small town; the ending was a real shocker!

Jan 25, 2011

Excellent book. Mystery plus romance !

johnsonkjcl Nov 04, 2010

After reading Pickard’s first standalone suspense novel The Virgin of Small Plains, I have been impatiently awaiting her next novel. I have not been disappointed; Nancy Pickard has confirmed again that she can deliver a great mystery. The Scent of Rain and Lightning is a fascinating tale of past and present in a close-knit Midwestern community. The story is set in a small fictional town of Rose, Kansas. The story opens as the main character, Jody Linder, finds out that Billy Crosby, the man who was convicted of murdering her father has been released from prison and is coming back to town. Jody was just three years old, when her father was murdered and her mother disappeared. She was raised by her fraternal grandparents, the wealthiest cattle ranchers in the area.

After the opening chapter, the story goes back to early September of 1986, the time of the murder. Thus, the reader can follow all events that lead to the murder and learn about the Linder family, the Crosby family and other people in town. This part of the book is particularly well written and the characters are well developed. Pickard also devotes a couple chapters to Jody’s growing up with Collin Crosby, the son of her father’s convicted murderer. Interestingly, Collin will become a lawyer when he grows up and it will be him who will get his father’s sentence commuted.

Then the story goes back to present time, June of 2009, and Jody has to face the return of Billy Crosby. As the story unfolds, Jody finds out more information about the night of the murder and learns that not everybody in town believes that Billy committed the crime. The conclusion of the book is full of suspense with many twists. I was very surprised at the ending. Who would have ever guessed?

The Scent of Rain and Lightning is well-plotted and beautifully written. The characters are interesting and believable and I got fully involved in their lives. Pickard has done a great job describing the rural setting against the backdrop of the Testament (Monument) Rocks and capturing the atmosphere of a small Kansas ranching town. Very enjoyable read and highly recommended. Great choice for book groups.


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Jul 13, 2011

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' house, or what she calls her parents' house, even though Hugh-Jay and Laurie Linder have been gone almost all of Jody's life. "What is this fearsome thing I see?" the young high school English teacher whispers, mimicking Shakespeare. Polished boots, pressed jeans, fresh white shirts, Stetsons, her uncles' suspiciously clean visiting clothes are a disturbing sign. The three bring shocking news: The man convicted of murdering Jody's father is being released from prison and returning to the small town of Rose, Kansas. It has been twenty-three years since that stormy night when her father was shot and killed and her mother disappeared, presumed dead. Neither the protective embrace of Jody's uncles nor the safe haven of her grandparents' ranch could erase the pain caused by Billy Crosby on that catastrophic night. Now Billy Crosby's sentence has been commuted, thanks in large part to the efforts of his son, Collin, a lawyer who has spent most of his life trying to prove his father's innocence. As Jody lives only a few doors down from the Crosbys, she knows that sooner or later she'll come face-to-face with the man who she believes destroyed her family. What she doesn't 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 other's 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 family's tragic past. From the Hardcover edition.


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