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Rain Falls Like Mercy

Rain Falls Like Mercy

A Novel

  • reading group guide
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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 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.
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  • Touchstone | 
  • 304 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439109526 | 
  • November 2011
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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.

Introduction

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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