In Black Water Rising, Attica Locke delivered one of the most stunning and sure-handed fiction debuts in recent memory, garnering effusive critical praise, several award nominations, and passionate reader response. Now Locke returns with The Cutting Season, a riveting thriller that intertwines two murders separated across more than a century.
Caren Gray manages Belle Vie, a sprawling antebellum plantation that sits between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, where the past and the present coexist uneasily. The estate's owners have turned the place into an eerie tourist attraction, complete with full-dress re-enactments and carefully restored slave quarters. Outside the gates, a corporation with ambitious plans has been busy snapping up land from struggling families who have been growing sugar cane for generations, and now replacing local employees with illegal laborers. Tensions mount when the body of a female migrant worker is found in a shallow grave on the edge of the property, her throat cut clean.
As the investigation gets under way, the list of suspects grows. But when fresh evidence comes to light and the sheriff's department zeros in on a person of interest, Caren has a bad feeling that the police are chasing the wrong leads. Putting herself at risk, she ventures into dangerous territory as she unearths startling new facts about a very old mystery - the long-ago disappearance of a former slave - that has unsettling ties to the current murder. In pursuit of the truth about Belle Vie's history and her own, Caren discovers secrets about both cases - ones that an increasingly desperate killer will stop at nothing to keep buried.
Taut, hauntingly resonant, and beautifully written, The Cutting Season is at once a thoughtful meditation on how America reckons its past with its future, and a high-octane pause resister that unfolds with tremendous skill and vision. With her rare gift for depicting human nature in all its complexities, Attica Locke demonstrates once again that she is "destined for literary stardom" (Dallas Morning News).
©2012 Attica Locke (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers
Complex plot and characters. Part mystery part social commentary on race relations in the American south. Tight story (until the very end when it stretches the imagination). Excellent narrator.
Yes, captures the conflict of the past and present
The complexity of the story.
The passion and presence of the characters
Donovan's Grandmother - to hear her stories of her life and dreams.
I was excited about this one from the description but was, especially at the end to be anticlimactic, have a non-suspenseful ending (although the meat of the story suggested it would be otherwise) & have mixed plot points that seemed out of sync. The author writes beautifully but had a weak plot here, in my opinion.
The most frustrating part was the main character. Was she a wanna-be detective, historian, lawyer???
The narrator can become annoying and didn't offer much voice variation.
While I loved the book, I hated the ending. Why couldn't Caren and Eric be together? What happened to Donovan after all the madness? The ending was flat. What was Caren going to do when she got to Washington?
I wish I hadn't hesitated. This story was a wonderful blend of mystery, love lost, culture and history. Truly a delight. The authors detailed descriptions really brought southern Louisiana to life. I also liked the narrator.
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson
The opening of the book was lush and held out much promise for an engrossing southern novel. However, the characters and the story didn’t live up to this beginning. I did enjoy the descriptions of a “living” plantation, Belle Vie, in this day and age. That part was fascinating. The main character, Caren, however, seemed unlikeable and I just didn’t care much about her. She makes some really stupid decisions. The relationship she has with her ex –husband just doesn’t ring true to me. In fact, all her relationships seem washed out or bland.
In the end, the solution to the mystery just seems to pop up out of nowhere. Or did I miss something?
Overall, I was underwhelmed.
After reading Gone Girl all the mysteries I've listened to have fallen flat - until this one. I loved everything about this book. A telling sign for me is I rarely needed to use the rewind feature because I was so engrossed. Highly recommend this book.
This is one of my favorites so far because of how realistic it is and how plausible the story.
It was a fascinating look into a culture vastly different than my own but written in a way that I could completely understand why Caren (the main character) makes the decisions she makes. It was also a great look at what happened to all those plantations that I had previously thought of as romantic.
Any scene that described the plantation, as well as the scenes where you get a glimpse of how brilliant Caren is and how compassionate she is toward other people.
This was a great little mystery as well as a great look at modern day Louisiana. It took me by surprise as I wasn't sure I would like it initially. But I did and couldn't wait to get back to it when I did have to pause along the way.
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