In four-time Edgar Award nominee Nancy Pickard’s follow up to The Virgin of Small Plains, the scene of the crime is a dark, stormy night in Rose, Kansas. Amidst the chaos of flooded roads and battered fields the sound of a deadly gunshot rings out, condemning little Jody Linder to grow up in the shadow of a murdered father, a vanished mother, and a lifetime of small town notoriety and bad dreams. Two decades later, the conviction of Billy Crosby for the crime is overturned with the help of new evidence and his attorney son Collin. Suddenly Billy is back—and all the unresolved anger, fear, and danger in Jody’s past are rolling into town with him.
Pickard unfolds her literary suspense around Jody, the innocent at the center of the tale who, while no longer a child, has been shielded by those around her, while simultaneously being the one clear-eyed and principled enough to seek the truth. The events leading up to the fateful night subtly and cinematically unfold in the first half of the book, revealing a complicated tangle of human passions and family and class dynamics in the Linder and Crosby families: one stressing under the high expectations of the unforgiving Linder patriarch, the other struggling with the abuse and dependency of a troubled young father. By the time the action comes full circle to the present, Pickard’s characters have each found themselves at a moral crossroads. Beautifully written and compassionately told, The Scent of Rain and Lightning could make Pickard a five-time contender for an Edgar.