From Publishers Weekly
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. (May)
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*Starred Review* A decades-old mystery is solved and a woman’s haunting questions put to rest in Pickard’s latest thriller. When she was just three years old, Jody Linder lost both parents in one night, when her father, Hugh Jay—eldest son of the wealthiest rancher in the small town of Rose, Kansas—was killed and her mother, Laurie, vanished. Raised by grandparents, Hugh Senior and Annabelle Linder, and with loving support from three uncles, Jody spends years collecting human detritus around the area’s towering Testament Rocks, where authorities once searched for clues to Laurie’s disappearance. Jody’s world is rocked 23 years later when Billy Crosby, the vicious drunk convicted of her father’s murder on circumstantial evidence, is released for a new trial; his return to town brings events to a head. In her second stand-alone (after The Virgin of Small Plains, 2006), 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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