Title: The Scent of Rain & Lightning
Author: Nancy Pickard
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date : May 4th, 2010
Available to order here: Amazon / The Book Depository / Barnes & Noble
One beautiful summer afternoon, Jody Linder receives shocking news: The man convicted of murdering her 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 three uncles nor the safe haven of her grandparents’ ranch could erase the pain caused by Billy Crosby on that catastrophic night.
Now Billy Crosby is free, thanks to the efforts of his son, Collin, a lawyer who has spent most of his life trying to prove his father’s innocence. Despite their long history of carefully avoiding each other in such an insular community, Jody and Collin find that they share an exclusive sense of loss. As Jody revisits old wounds, startling truths emerge about her family’s tragic past. But even through struggle and hardship, she still dares to hope for a better future—and maybe even love.
It is undeniable that author Nancy Pickard has a flair for writing about murder mysteries that take place in small town settings. "The Scent of Rain & Lightning" is the second novel that I've read by Nancy Pickard, the first being "The Virgin of Small Plains" which went straight into the list of my favorite mystery novels of all time. Thus, when I picked up this book, I had a lot of expectations. And despite how pre-hyped (and over-hyped, I must add) the book had been in my mind, it came through on all my expectations.
Nancy Pickard has a knack for concocting mysteries that are sure to make your head spin, and have you grasping at clues to piece the puzzle together, and yet you'll find yourself completely clueless until the very end, until the author allows it to slowly unravel in all its glory. I pride myself in being a darn intuitive reader, and I must admit (far from humbly) that I can usually predict who the killer is, or the motive, much earlier than the ending of the book - but Pickard's novels always render my intuition useless, and leave me guessing until the very end, which is why I happen to love them. I love that there's an author who can trump my intuition, and leave me begging for more.
However, what makes this novel so great, it is not just the mystery itself, but the characters that the writer creates. You cannot help but feel empathy towards the mother who has lost her son, the daughter who has lost her parents, and with them, her childhood, and the son who may not like his father but feels obligated to defend him. The book is full of wonderful, meaningful characters that are real, and easy to relate to, even if you may not like them. After reading her books, one is convinced that author Nancy Pickard has never stepped foot outside spent her entire life in a secluded, rural, remote and small farm-town somewhere in the Midwest; her description of the town of Rose, Kansas is so spot-on, and her description of the dynamics and relationships between the townspeople is excessively real and believable.
Will Jody be able to forgive Billy Crosby, in order to move on with her life? Will she be able to let her guard down, and allow herself to care for Collin, the son of the man who killed her father? Will she ever find her missing mother? Will her wounds ever be filled, and will she ever move on with her life, fall in love again, or feel safe again?
Overall, I highly recommend this novel to someone who likes to read about murder mysteries, but also to those who like reading about the interpersonal interactions between people from a small-town like Rose, Kansas. Above all, I recommend you to read it for the riveting mystery, and for the characters, like Jody, who you'll remember long after you are done with the novel.
My Rating 5/5 Stars
Disclaimer: I bought a copy of this book for my personal reading/reviewing purposes, I was not compensated monetarily, or in any other way, for my opinion. The opinions stated in this review are solely mine, and are not representative of views of the author, or publishing company, of this book.