Title: The Scent of Rain and Lightning
Author: Nancy Pickard
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
When Jody Linder was just three years old, her father, Hugh Jay, was murdered and her mother, Laurie, disappeared. Now, twenty-three years later, Jody is a grown woman who has been raised by her caring, if overprotective, family. She realizes how much she needs that family when she receives the devastating news that Billy Crosby, the man accused of murdering her father and kidnapping her mother, is being released from prison. There were inconsistencies in the evidence that convicted him and the investigation was not as thorough as it should have been, so Billy is coming home. While Jody is angry, she also feels a burning desire to understand what really happened that night, and begins to wonder if what she has been told her whole life really is the truth.
I’ve wanted to read The Scent of Rain and Lightning for a long time, but it took me awhile to actually pick it up for some reason. Once I started it, though, I had to wonder why it took me so long. It was a gripping read that I couldn’t put down, as I journeyed with Jodi to understand the truth about what happened to her parents.
I absolutely love mysteries, and The Scent of Rain and Lightning is a satisfying blend between a mystery and a thrilling work of contemporary fiction. The book starts slowly and builds suspense as the reader begins to understand the inner workings of the Linder family. It’s clear from the beginning that there is a lot under the surface with this family, and that Jodi doesn’t know everything about her childhood. The question is whether any of this information is relevant to the murder mystery, and Pickard does a wonderful job keeping the reader guessing on that front.
Pickard’s character development is solid, especially with Jodi. The reader comes to understand her very well over the course of the novel. Even when she begins to realize that her questions are taking her a place where she might not want to go, and certainly somewhere she can’t return from, Jodi still pursues the truth. I appreciated how committed she was, as well as how much she respected the memory of her parents and the wishes of her family.
I can’t say enough good things about the suspense of The Scent of Rain and Lightning. I was on the edge of my seat for much of the novel, determined to find the truth behind this literary mystery. The book takes a turn that I didn’t love at the end of the book, but I still really enjoyed it from beginning to end. I look forward to seeing what Nancy Pickard does next, and in the meantime, I’ll be checking out her previous novels!