Rain Falls Like Mercy

A Novel

Rain Falls Like Mercy

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

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 fury builds to a stunning crescendo.

Rain Falls Like Mercy
opens with the investigation of a young girl's murder in Wyoming in mid-1941. Tom Call, the young sheriff in charge of the case, 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. Tom joins the U.S. Air Force and is deployed to England to fly bombers, while 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 an epic picture of the historical events that shape their destinies.
  • Touchstone | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416598527 | 
  • August 2012
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Rain Falls Like Mercy includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Jack Todd. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Rain Falls Like Mercy
opens in Wyoming with the murder of Millie Stojko, a teenage girl fleeing an abusive home in 1941. Her murder sparks a fervent manhunt led by Sheriff Tom Call, whose determination to find the girl’s murderer is matched only by his growing love for Juanita Paint, the wife of rancher Eli Paint. Meanwhile, World War II rages overseas, and when Pearl Harbor is attacked by the Japanese, life in Wyoming is altered forever. Tom leaves Juanita, his unborn son, and his manhunt to fly fighter planes in Europe, while Eli and Juanita’s family worries after Eli’s son Leo and grandson Bobby, who are fighting in the Navy. While the war presses on, Pardo Bury, the man responsible for Millie’s death, is sentenced to several years in jail at his father’s insistence for an unrelated crime. After the war ends, life appears to return to normal for Tom and the Paint family until Pardo, recently released from prison, and his new cohort Arlie Swain go on a multi-state killing spree that ends see more

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About the Author

Jack Todd
Photo Credit:

Jack Todd

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.