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The Scent ofLightning
By Nancy Pickard
Award-winning Nancy Pickard certainly has provided readers with a beautifully written novel and a suspenseful mystery that keeps readers turning pages and working to solve the murder. Gee I hate it when I didn't even have a clue who it really was!
Actually, I love it when I can't figure out a mystery! While this book has much to love, much of what actually happens reveals the cruelty from some individuals who you even love to hate!
As a little girl of three, Jody Linder had loved to watch the storms, listen to the thunder go "Boom!" and see the lightning brighten the sky. But then on one particular stormy night, Jody's father was murdered and her mother disappeared. And now she feared those storms when they came...
Although Jody's life was a good one, living with her grandparents in Rose, Kansas, she never lost the need to know what happened to her mother. When small, she had heard that if her mother had disappeared, it might have been near The Rocks, a unique rock display that drew many people to see how erosion would change the faces to be found there. She had begun to pick up items lost there and she would bring them to one of her family members and suggest that it might have belonged to her mother.
She soon realized that none of them wanted her to do this--so she kept it her secret activity and now many years later, she had backpacks full of smelly items that she thought might someday be used as a clue to help find her mother...
Billy Crosby had worked for her grandfather but he was cruel to the animals and it was rumored that he also was cruel to his wife and son, especially when he drank. And that night during the storm, he was so drunk that he had passed out and had to be picked up and taken home. So when the murder occurred, the entire family automatically assumed that it had been Billy. He was convicted and put in jail.
Until 23 years later, when Jody is just about to begin a teaching job, Colin, Billy's son, is now a lawyer and had fought and won to have the old trial overturned and a new one held.
It was then that Colin and others in the town expressed the opinion that Billy had not been guilty, at least of the murder for which he had been convicted. Even the man with whom Jody had been intimately revealed he believed Billy innocent. Jody was crushed!
She had to know the truth, especially about where her mother might be! And she starts her own personal investigation that leads to... more death!
Meet the family, friends and enemies Jody found that were living next to each other in Rose, Kansas. It is a fantastic story, gripping of a subtle love interest that has lasted over 20 years amidst the agonizing fear, hate and anger for the killer who had never killed until he was convicted of one he did not do. Bittersweet, it will leave you to ponder the secrets carried by some, perhaps even by those who you have loved for years...
My opinion-- The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard is a must-read. With the literary mastery of writing along with a beautiful tantalizing story, you really don't want to miss this one!
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G. A. Bixler