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Rain Falls Like Mercy

Rain Falls Like Mercy

4.5 6
by Jack Todd

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Set against the sweeping backdrop of World War II, Rain Falls Like Mercy is a gripping depiction of a family and a country touched by the grand violence of war, the senseless violence of crime, and the intimate violence of the heart.

IN THE TRADITION OF TRUE CRIME narratives such as In Cold Blood, acclaimed author Jack Todd’s


Set against the sweeping backdrop of World War II, Rain Falls Like Mercy is a gripping depiction of a family and a country touched by the grand violence of war, the senseless violence of crime, and the intimate violence of the heart.

IN THE TRADITION OF TRUE CRIME narratives such as In Cold Blood, acclaimed author Jack Todd’s new novel grips the reader from the first page; and as it spans continents and generations of one family, its taut and shocking undercurrent of violence builds to a stunning crescendo. Todd’s first novel, Sun Going Down, which introduced the Paint family, won praise from reviewers and major authors such as Michael Korda and Michael Blake. His second novel, Come Again No More, recounted the Paints’ saga of triumph and tragedy through the Great Depression, inspiring the Ottawa Citizen to label Todd “a first-rate novelist with a tender heart.”

Rain Falls Like Mercy opens with the murder investigation of a young girl in Wyoming in mid- 1941. Tom Call, the young sheriff running the investigation, falls in love with Juanita, the wife of Eli Paint, whose son Leo and grandson Bobby Watson are on duty with the U.S. Navy. Almost overnight, the case is derailed by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, disrupting the lives of all involved. Bobby mans an antiaircraft gun during the attack. Tom joins the U.S. Air Force and is deployed to England to fly bombers, still trying to pursue his murder investigation. His suspicion falls on Pardo Bury, the psychotic son of a wealthy rancher in Wyoming.

As Pardo and Tom make their ways to their inevitable and shattering confrontation, Rain Falls Like Mercy displays Todd’s uncanny ability to zero in on his characters’ emotional lives while simultaneously painting a sweeping picture of the historical events that shape their destinies.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The powerful concluding volume of Todd’s trilogy about the Paint family (after Sun Going Down and Come Again No More) follows the clan from 1941 to 1949 as they deal with the vicissitudes of Wyoming weather, the fortunes of war, and the depredations of a warped killer. Three generations of Paints, from patriarchal twins Eli and Ezra down to Eli’s grandsons, Ben and Bobby, share story space with Eli’s much younger, Mexican-born wife, Juanita; Eli’s arch enemy, oil tycoon William C. Bury; and Bury’s sons, Lon and Pardo. Todd’s vivid language is perfectly suited to the epic sweep of his narrative, whether describing the chaos of a U.S. naval squadron enduring kamikaze attacks off Okinawa, where Bobby is a gunner aboard the battleship Tennessee, or the extraordinary efforts by Eli and his ranch hands to save their stock during the terrible blizzard of 1949. The evil of Pardo, small, handsome, and vicious, permeates the tale from beginning to end, but so does the daily bravery of the unforgettable Paints. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"Powerful . . . Todd’s vivid language is perfectly suited to the epic sweep of his narrative." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A sweeping story . . . Lean yet visceral prose . . . Todd masterfully captures both the larger historical moment and the more intimate details of family life.” –Booklist (starred review)

"Todd’s writing is exceptional and vivid. . . . A brilliant, compelling . . . and highly readable novel." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Kirkus Reviews
This Western-based tale of murder, war, love and the pursuit of justice cuts a wide swath from Japan to Germany before returning home to Wyoming and leaving readers breathless. In 1941, Sheriff Tom Call investigates the vicious killing of a 15-year-old runaway girl whose body is found in a shack on Eli Paint's ranch. Call is dedicated and conscientious, but he finds time to enjoy flying his single-engine Aeronca and taking Paint's wife for rides that lead to their love affair. The murder case occupies and frustrates him right up until the attack on Pearl Harbor, when he decides to put his passion for flying to use as a B-17 pilot in Europe. Todd's writing is exceptional and vivid, especially in depicting the combat scenes on the USS Tennessee in the Pacific. The large cast of characters fights the war on two oceans. Amid the dangers of combat, Call's mind often returns to the murder. Meanwhile, Pardo Bury, the son of a powerful businessman and a seriously unbalanced lowlife, does hard time in a Texas prison for slicing a prostitute. He is released around the time the war ends and is bent on revenge, embarking on a crime spree best not read about over lunch. Pardo doesn't especially need revenge as a motivation, though. In the tradition of criminals like Charles Starkweather, he takes a special pleasure in killing for its own sake. When the story follows Pardo after the war, the sex and violence are as graphic as they can be, rather like being crushed to a puddle by a pallet of Penthouse magazines. The final showdown between good and evil hits the reader like a knife to the gut. A brilliant, compelling, at times repulsive and highly readable novel.

Product Details

Publication date:
Paint Family Saga
Product dimensions:
9.52(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Jack Todd is the author of the novels Sun Going Down and Come Again No More and the memoir Desertion, which won the Quebec Writer’s Federation First Book Prize and the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction. Visit his website at JackToddTheAuthor.com.

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Rain Falls Like Mercy 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kayjinks More than 1 year ago
Jack Todd has done a wonderful job telling the story of his family throughout history. The trials of this family will send your heart to the moon and back, you'll laugh, cry and remember forever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rain Falls Like Mercy is the third edition in Jack Todd¿s trilogy about the Paint family. You do not necessarily need to read the first two in order to enjoy this third book, but I suspect you will wish to do so after you read this one. This story takes place in 1941 during World War II in a small Wyoming town where the murder investigation of a slain teen girl is underway. The town sheriff, Tom Call, must forego his investigation when Pearl Harbour is bombed and he soon finds himself in the U.S. Air Force flying dangerous missions in England. Yet he still tries to unravel the circumstances of the murder investigation that awaits him at home and his sole suspect, Pardo Bury, the son of a very affluent and powerful businessman. While Tom Call is embroiled in the war in England, Pardo Bury waits out his time a Texas jail for slicing a prostitute. The moment he is released, sets out on a new spree of violence, victimizing both men and women. Part Western, part World War II, the story unfolds with intensity as Jack Todd holds nothing back in his graphic descriptions, strong language, and twisting plot. The reader embarks on a journey from the U.S. to England, Japan to Germany, and then back to the U.S., keeping us enthralled throughout.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In May 1941 in Wyoming, someone murders a girl. Sheriff Tom Call investigates the homicide. During his inquiry he meets and falls in love with Juanita Paint, wife of much older rancher Eli. Progress on solving the homicide goes slow. Meanwhile Eli's son Leo and grandson Bobby are serving with the U.S. Navy when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. Tom enlists with the Air Force and after a brief basic training he deploys to England to fly bombers. Although leaving home, he still works the murder case as he suspects the almost untouchable psychopath Pardo Bury, son of an influential wealthy oil tycoon William, killed the girl. The third Paint family epic (see Sun Going Down and Come Again No More) is an engaging look at the 1940s through the Paint and Bury families. Much more occurs than above as the war continues with the invasion of Okinawa while the kamikaze pilots try to sink the ships. Readers will anticipate the confrontation between the good sheriff and the amoral evil Pardo as even a world war is a temporary hindrance to their mano a mano destiny. Harriet Klausner