“If you read for pleasure, there’s probably more pleasure per inch in Pickard’s work than almost any other current crime novelist.”Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Pickard has evolved into a novelist of substantial literary power.”The Denver Post
“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.”Publisher’s Weekly (Starred Review)
"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."Booklist, Michele Leber (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.”Library Journal, Teresa L. Jacobsen (Starred Review)
Kansas City Star, Steve Weinberg
". . . 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."
Huntingtonnews.net, David M. Kinchen
"On the surface it's a mystery/thriller, but it's my view that 'The Scent of Rain and Lightning' [is] a fully realized, very readable literary novel. Pickard gives us carefully drawn, nuanced characters who remind us of our friends, neighbors, and yes, our relatives.
"'The Scent of Rain and Lightning' brings to life the experiences of working on a cattle ranch and the essence of small town living in a state that's losing its rural population at a rapid rate -- and losing an iconic American experience in the process. It also shows how wealth and prominence in a community can influence the course of justice. . ."
Suspense Magazine, Shannon Raab
"It’s no surprise that Nancy Pickard has been the recipient of multiple awards for her superb writing style and with the recent addition of 'The Scent of Rain and Lightning' to her portfolio, her history of excellence won’t be marred. This stand-alone story—set in rural Kansas—is a dramatic view into the lives of the Linder family who are living with the devastation of a crime committed a quarter of a century before. The shocking murder of a loyal son and father rocked not only their close-knit family, but also affected the community as a whole. However, justice seemed swift as fingers immediately point at one local troublemaker. Jody Linder—three years old at the time of the murder—grew up believing that the perpetrator was safely behind bars, until the day of his unexpected release.
"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."
"Pickard's stand-alone stories bring the reader into a carefully constructed universe in which the locale — in this case, small-town Kansas — is as much a character as the human. . .The Kansas heat hangs over the story, along with a sense of impending doom, as the plot moves inexorably forward. It is hard not to root for these damaged but unbowed characters."Contra Costa Times & Silicon Valley Mercury News, Roberta Alexander
"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."Denver Post, Dorman T. Shindler
The Scent of Rain and Lightning grabbed me from the first page and refused to let go. Pickard sweeps you into a world where the undercurrents are dark, strange, mystifying, but ultimately, this story is the terrain of the heart.T.J. MacGregor, Edgar-Winning Author of Out of Sight