The Scent of Rain and Lightning was my first introduction to author Nancy Pickard. I originally read a review that places this in the “mystery” category. It is that, but it’s also more, and was very hard to put down since it keeps you guessing to the very end.
Jody Linder has grown up in the small plains town of Rose, Kansas, and one hot summer afternoon is puzzled and alarmed to look out her window and see three of her uncles approaching the house. They definitely have a purpose, and that is to tell Jody that Billy Crosby, the man who was convicted of murdering her father 23 years earlier is being released from prison. Not only that, Crosby will be returning to town, since his wife and son Collin, now a lawyer, live in Rose. At the same time that Jody’s father was murdered, her mother disappeared, but was never found, and was presumed dead.
Jody has always been surrounded by the love and prestige of the Lindner family in the community, especially since her parents were gone. So when questions begin to surface about the reliability of the information she has always been given about the terrible events 23 years earlier, she begins to investigate on her own. She also becomes reacquainted with the convicted man’s son, with whom she has always felt, even unwillingly, an invisible bond.
Characters in this story are strong and well defined. Another strength is the portrayal of the town and the community- it’s so well drawn that you feel as if you could go there and would recognize and know many of the residents and the places mentioned. The author lives in Kansas, so maybe that’s partly why. I’ll be searching out more titles by Nancy Pickard!
The Scent of Rain and Lightning