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1 Beaverton Mystery- A to Z

The Scent of Rain and Lightning


The Scent of Rain and Lightning Cover

ISBN13: 9780345471017
ISBN10: 0345471016
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 Jay and Laurie Jo 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-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 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 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 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.

Engrossing, lyrical, and suspenseful, The Scent of Rain and Lightning captures the essence of small-town America — its heartfelt intimacy and its darkest secrets — where through struggle and hardship people still dare to hope for a better future. For Jody Linder, maybe even love.


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.

About the Author

Nancy Pickard is a four-time Edgar Award nominee, most recently for her Ballantine debut, The Virgin of Small Plains. She is the winner of the Anthony Award, the Macavity Award, and three Agatha Awards. Her short stories have also won numerous accolades. Pickard has been a national board member of the Mystery Writers of America and president of Sisters in Crime, and she is a member of PEN. She lives in Merriam, Kansas.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Kathie, January 3, 2011 (view all comments by Kathie)
My favorite book of 2010. Great story. Great character development. Set in Western Kansas, this book is a bit of a mystery, a bit of a thriller, a family study, etc. I would highly recommend this.
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OneMansView, May 23, 2010 (view all comments by OneMansView)
Cartwright family II (3.6*s)

This family saga/mystery is set in the little town of Rose located in the Kansas plains where in the mid-70s twenty-something Billy Crosby, a part-timer at the huge Linder ranch, had the audacity and bad taste to brutally murder the patriarch Hugh’s older son Hugh-Jay and permanently conceal his wife Laurie, leaving behind a parentless three-year old daughter Jody. Or so it seemed. This story begins with the imminent arrival of Billy after some twenty-three years of incarceration, as his thirty-year-old son Collin, now a lawyer, has inconveniently pointed out to authorities that his father’s trial was a total sham. The immediate reaction of the Linder clan is to shelter the now twenty-six-year-old Jody, but she demonstrates unexpected independence and spunk in moving past initial assumptions and getting to the bottom of the matter, at some risk to her physical and emotional well-being.

Whether intentional or not, the setting and characters in this book uncannily parallel those of the old TV series Bonanza, where Ben Cartwright headed up the Ponderosa ranch with his three sons Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe. In this case Hugh Linder and his dutiful wife Annabelle personify the same kind of sternness, toughness, uprightness, and kindness. His closely monitored sons, Hugh-Jay, Bobby, and Chase, all share those attributes. Like in Bonanza, women are for the most part a corrupting influence. The Linder boys don’t have lasting relationships; the only one, Hugh-Jay, who succumbed to the wiles of a female found his life well compromised before his death. In addition, like the Cartwright’s, the Linder’s have a large community influence, certainly with law enforcement and legal affairs. The Linder’s belief in Billy’s guilt was not seriously questioned, though no overt coercion was involved.

The book has a nice pace; the author’s story is well-told. As noted, the characters are largely stereotypical, though Jody has possibilities that the author did not fully take advantage of, especially her complex relationship with Collin. The ending is Cartwright-like all the way – in retrospect predictable; the Linder family integrity is not compromised in the least. While the Linder’s had some troubles, a far more diligent scrutiny of the assumptions of their goodness and self-righteousness would have undoubtedly produced a harder-hitting realistic story. But that is not the author’s intent. Just barely makes four-stars.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Aimee Patrick, May 14, 2010 (view all comments by Aimee Patrick)
Never heard of the author, but the synopsis and comment make me want to read it. Sounds great!
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Product Details

A Novel
Pickard, Nancy
Ballantine Books
General Fiction
Mystery & Detective - General
Mystery-A to Z
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
9.5 x 6.35 x 1.1 in 1.2 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
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The Scent of Rain and Lightning Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345471017 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , 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.
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