Erin's Reviews > The Scent of Rain and Lightning

The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard
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's review
Nov 27, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: crime-suspense, mystery
Read from November 22 to 25, 2010

3.5 stars, but I enjoyed it more than The Virgin of Small Plains, the other book i read of hers, so I'm rounding up. The beginning--about poor Jodie Linder, orphan of murdered father and missing mother 25 years back, being notified by her three uncles that her father's convicted murderer is getting out of prison after his sentence has been commuted--is terrific and sucked me right in. But then Pickard flashes back to that fateful days before the murder, and while they started a little slow they picked up speed, and when you finally find out what happens to Jodie's parents, I thought Nancy Pickard biffed (correct slang? I'm going with it) the landing with the ending. She threw in some unlikely motivations for murder, along with some undeveloped characters (mainly the convict's son, but the murderer wasn't much better) and some unlikely plot mechanics. But in general, I enjoyed it. Adult Jodie is a prickly character, with good reason, and her extended rich ranching family is vividly drawn. But if Pickard wants Jodie to have some connection to the convict's son, who is a victim in this story as well, she needs to give the man some dimension. The poor guy barely has an adult back story which I thought was a missed opportunity. In general, it was a good mystery, and I admired that Pickard made jodie's dad, the murder victim a full-fledged character in his own right in the flashbacks, and made me feel sympathy for him. Not easy to do. Worth reading, even though I wished she'd made the resolution a little smoother and more believable. Solid effort.

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