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The Scent of Rain and Lightning    by Nancy Pickard order for
Scent of Rain and Lightning
by Nancy Pickard
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2011 (2010)
Hardcover, Paperback, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Nancy Pickard's The Scent of Rain and Lightning is a suspenseful mystery, set in Rose, Kansas, a town dominated by the Linder ranching family. The town has long been haunted by the brutal murder of the patriarch's son Jay Linder and the disappearance of his wife, Laurie Jo Linder. Quick justice was dealt to Billy Crosby, the man believed to be the killer. He was convicted and jailed.

Hugh and Annabelle Linder raised their three-year-old granddaughter Jody with the help of her three protective uncles (Chase, Bobby and Meryl). But Jody was not left unscarred - she grew up 'suspicious of happiness.' Now at twenty-six, she is waiting to start her new job as a high school English teacher in Rose, when her three uncles show up unexpectedly, bearing bad news. Billy Crosby is being released from prison due to the efforts of his attorney son Collin, who fought to have his father's sentence commuted - and the Crosby's live close to the mansion Jody inherited from her parents (the same house in which her father died).

Everyone in the small town is shocked by the news and readers watch reactions develop along with flashbacks in time to the events that led up to Jay Linder's murder. Laurie Jo Linder was having an affair, but with whom? Billy Crosby was a vicious drunk who abused his wife, but was he also a killer? In any case, he has come back to Rose a dangerous, vengeful man. Questions grow in the reader's mind, and eventually in Jody's as well. She talks to Collin (they were always drawn to each other) and finds him a man of principle like her grandfather.

As Jody and Collin seek answers, a killer strikes again, and Billy's fury explodes in a conflagration of violence. By the time the truth is finally revealed, everyone concerned has lost their appetite for revenge. The Scent of Rain and Lightning is a gripping, haunting mystery that's very hard to put down - don't miss it!

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