The Scent of Rain and Lightning

A Novel

Publisher: Ballantine Books
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 an 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.

 
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Chapter One


June 9, 2009

Until she was twenty-six, Jody Linder felt suspicious of happiness.

She hated that about herself, because it tended to sour some otherwise pretty damn fine moments, but this was Rose, Kansas, after all. Only the year before, a pencil tornado had dropped down and...
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READING GUIDE

1. Why do you think Pickard chose to title her novel The Scent of Rain
and Lightning? How does she use weather and landscape as symbols in
her writing?
 
2. How does Jody’s place in the community change after her father’s
murder?
 
3. How is Collin...

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PRAISE FOR

“Pickard has the storytelling gift.”—The New York Times Book Review

“[Nancy] Pickard writes richly textured fiction about families and relationships, about hatred and lust and love, about loyalty and betrayal, and most of all about the corrosive power of secrets.”—The Boston Globe

“A novel that simultaneously qualifies as a gripping read, a master character study and as literary . . . exceedingly rare.”—The Kansas City Star
 
“Pickard’s tales of Kansas life are filled with gravitas and small-town drama. . . . The Scent of Rain and Lightning seems certain to earn her a much-deserved larger audience.”—The Denver Post