Friday, October 12, 2012

The Scent of Rain and Lightning - Nancy Pickard

Summary:  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 and 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.  (Summary from book - Image from www.randomhouse.com)

My Review:  One quick look at my review list makes it obvious that I don't read a lot of mysteries.   I mean, I only need to know so many creative ways to kill someone and I reached my fill during Season 3 of CSI.  However, when a friend dropped this mystery off on my doorstep with some chocolate and her recommendation, I decided to give it a try.  I snarfed the bag right away, but it took me four months to get around to reading this book.  Hey, I have my priorities.

The Scent of Rain and Lightining kept me up very late.  I tore through its pages in less than 24 hours because I just had to know if Billy Crosby was the real killer or if someone else had gotten away with murder.  Most of the main characters in this book were part of a small town aristocracy that could do no wrong in the eyes of many of the townsfolk.  On the surface, their life seemed idyllic but as the story progressed it was fascinating to watch the layers peel away and expose the cracks underneath.   The author sprinkled delicious bits of dramatic foreshadowing alongside intentional misdirection so that,by the time I was halfway through, the clues were pointing every which way, I had a mile-long list of potential suspects, and was wound pretty tight.    

The one major drawback to this novel is that I can’t recommend it to every reader.  There was frequent profanity and some sexual situations, including a rather graphic scene in the last few chapters.  I’m sure there are arguments for character authenticity and plot integrity, but I just didn’t like that I couldn’t recommend this book to my family and most of my friends.  Otherwise, I enjoyed almost every inch of this book, and loved finding out what really happened the night of that fateful storm.

My Rating: 3.75 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  Plenty of profanity, some sexual situations, including one rather graphic scene.

Sum it up:  A delicious mystery not suitable for all readers.

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