Mississippi had William Faulkner and his Yoknapatawpha County, and Maine's Stephen King has made that state known to readers the world over. Now, with two solid, literary mysteries — and more to come — Pickard bids to become the literary Baedeker to Kansas, and The Scent of Rain and Lightning seems certain to earn her a much-deserved larger audience.
Dorman T. Shindler - Denver Post
A "literary"novel in every sense of that word. Well-plotted, clearly written mystery novels are always welcome. A novel that simultaneously qualifies as a gripping read, a master character study and as literary is more than welcome — it is exceedingly rare. Although anxious to read the final chapter to learn the identity of the murderer, I put the novel aside for three days because I did not want it to end. Now that it has ended, Jody and the other well-crafted characters continue to live in my mind.
Steve Weinberg - Kansas City Star
This stand-alone story—set in rural Kansas--is a dramatic view into the lives of the Linder family.... Highlighting the ripple effect of people's actions, The Scent of Rain and Lightning is an in-depth tale of unraveling lies and deceit in perfect Pickard fashion.
Shannon Raab - Suspense Magazine
(Starred review.) With exquisite sensitivity, Edgar-finalist Pickard (The Virgin of Small Plains) probes a smoldering cold case involving the Linders, a cattle ranching family that's ruled the small, tight-knit community of Rose, Kans., for generations. One stormy night in 1986, someone shoots Hugh-Jay Linder dead, and Laurie, his discontented young wife, disappears. The authorities arrest Billy Crosby, a disgruntled ex-employee of High Rock Ranch with a drunk-driving record, in whose abandoned truck Laurie's bloodied sundress is found. In 2009, Billy's lawyer son, Collin, who's certain of his dad's innocence, secures Billy's release from prison and a new trial. Father and son return to Rose, where 25-year-old Jody Linder, the victims' daughter, works as a teacher. Collin's pursuit of justice will force Jody and other members of her family, including her three uncles and her grandparents, to finally confront what really happened on that long ago fatal night and deal with the consequences.
(Starred review.) A worthy successor to the author’s much-acclaimed The Virgin of Small Plains. Pickard’s superb storytelling transports the reader into the characters’ world, making all too real their dilemmas, their choices, and their willingness to believe the unlikely. Highly recommended.
Pickard shows her storytelling skills, weaving elements of deception, revenge, and romance into a novel with full-bodied characters who deal with tragedy as best they can; Annabelle Linder’s encounter with Crosby’s wife is particularly moving. From an award-winning author, this is engrossing fiction with an eminently satisfying denouement. —Michele Leber
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