The Cutting Season

The Cutting Season

A Novel

Book - 2012 | 1st ed.
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Baker & Taylor
When the dead body of a young woman is found on the grounds of Belle Vie, the estate's manager, Caren Gray, launches her own investigation into Belle Vie's history, which leads her to a centuries old mystery involving the plantation's slave quarters--and her own past. 50,000 first printing.


From Attica Locke, a writer and producer of FOX&;s Empire:

&;The Cutting Season is a rare murder mystery with heft, a historical novel that thrills, a page-turner that makes you think. Attica Locke is a dazzling writer with a conscience.&;&;Dolen Perkins-Valdez, New York Times bestselling author of Wench

After her breathtaking debut novel, Black Water Rising, won acclaim from major publications and respected crime fiction masters like James Ellroy and George Pelecanos, Locke returns with The Cutting Season, a second novel easily as gripping and powerful as her first&;a heart-pounding thriller that interweaves two murder mysteries, one on Belle Vie, a historic landmark in the middle of Lousiana&;s Sugar Cane country, and one involving a slave gone missing more than one hundred years earlier. Black Water Rising was nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, an Edgar® Award, and an NAACP Image Award, and was short-listed for the Orange Prize in the U.K.

& Taylor

When the dead body of a young woman is found on the grounds of Belle Vie, the estate's manager, Caren Gray, launches her own investigation into Belle Vie's history, which leads her to a centuries old mystery involving the plantation's slave quarters--andher own past.

Publisher: New York : Harper Collins, c2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780061802058
Characteristics: 374 p. ; 24 cm.


From the critics

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Jan 27, 2021

Although this book is labeled a mystery, it's part historical fiction, part mystery. Caren Gray has returned home to Belle Vie, the historical Louisiana plantation that she grew up on. Her family members were originally slaves on the working plantation and she's returned as general manager of the historical attraction it's become. When a migrant worker is found dead on the property, Caren is drawn into an investigation that threatens her daughter and her livelihood. As events unfold, the reader is drawn into family and political dramas both past and present. You can literally feel the oppressive heat envelop you as the novel progresses.

Jan 10, 2021

My first Attica Locke book was Bluebird, Bluebird, and it is my favorite read of 2020 and one of the best reads I've come across. Following that, I read Black Water Rising (her first novel), and I just finished The Cutting Season. While this is my first book of 2021, this is already my favorite. She takes what many would consider a everyday situation and weaves a strong story with interesting characters and strong subplots.

Attica Locke is truly a treasure.

Nov 19, 2020

I felt like nothing happened until at least midway through...Get to it already. Overall I liked it though

Aug 27, 2020

Very enjoyable read. I couldn't put the book down and finished it in 2 days (a record for me).

What I like about this book:

-Enough world building and character building without droning on and on.
-No purple language.
-Flawed main character with good emotional development story arc. This is not just a murder mystery or a slow-burner thriller, this is also a character study.
-The story's complexity is further enhanced by a clear-eyed look at daily racism still experienced by some non-white people in USA. There is a dark undercurrent here - of lost wealth, lives and opportunities - not usually found in murder mysteries.
-Supporting characters are interesting and different.

LPL_ShirleyB Jul 19, 2020

Brilliant! This is a haunting & compelling contemporary mystery rooted in the antebellum history of a former plantation in Louisiana.

STPL_JessH Sep 19, 2019

Cutting Season is excellent. Locke finds the perfect balance of crime, history, and social commentary. This story kept me hooked from beginning to end. I also recommend Locke's Highway 59 Series. Definitely an author to follow!

Jun 08, 2019

The story is told in excruciating detail, which I don’t mind if the details provided are interesting, drawing me in to the environment and characters but the author doesn’t appear to have that magical ability to do that. It’s just boring.

Aug 02, 2018

A look at a world that was unfamiliar to me--the cane fields of Louisianna. Also enjoyed the complex relationships among the descendents of slaves, the whites that owned nearly everything, and the land itself. Caren, the main character is interesting. The other characters could use more development. I enjoyed the book

Feb 12, 2017

I couldn't get myself to finish the book because I didn't care about the characters at all. But her later novel Pleasantville was more enjoyable.

Mar 17, 2014

*** STARS. Caren Gray is the general manager of Belle Vie, a sprawling antebellum plantation where the past and the present coexist uneasily. She is a person of color who was raised on the plantation where earlier generations of her family were slaves. The estate?s owners have turned the place into an eerie tourist attraction complete with full-dress reenactments and carefully restored slave quarters. Outside the gates, an ambitious corporation has been busy snapping up land from struggling families who have grown sugar cane for generations, 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. The list of suspects is long, but when the cops zero in on a person of interest, Caren has a feeling they?re chasing the wrong leads. Putting herself at risk, she unearths startling new facts about an old mystery ? the long-ago disappearance of a former slave ?that has unsettling ties to the modern day crime. In pursuit of the truth about Belle Vie?s history?and her own?Caren discovers secrets about both cases that an increasingly desperate killer will do anything to keep hidden. **** I have never read a book by this author before, but this mystery will lead me to seek out other titles. Ms. Locke writes believable characters and an intriguing mystery. Recommend!

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