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
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Franni on 11-02-13

A much slower pace...

I've been listening to this book while walking the dog – and I freely admit there were times when I felt the author could have moved the pace along a bit.But then, this is the South, and the wonderful voice of the narrator combined with the unexpected ending has kept me listening to the end. This is not city crime, and its a definite break from my normal high body count preferences.

I'm not advocating this as the perfect listen if you chose to walk your dog in unlit country places at night: it isn't, you'll start imagining footsteps behind you! And I'm not certain I would have read the paper version of the book, but I thought the combination of Ms Locke's writing & Quincy Tyler Bernstine's reading worked well together, and I will probably look for other work by both.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By MissPolkadotty on 11-07-13

Unfolds Slowly and Beautifully

I loved this audio edition- it's an atmospheric story that unfolds slowly but had me totally hooked, and the beautiful narration made the book even more appealing. It may not be a big book but it's one that stays with you and makes you want more. An absolute gem.
I enjoyed Attica Locke's first book 'Black Water Rising' and will be watching out for more!

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Customer Reviews

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5 out of 5 stars
By Carole T. on 20-09-12

Mystery + Atmosphere = A Definite Winner!

"For a lot of people .... it's complicated," says Caren Grey, a Southern African-American woman who manages the sugar plantation in Louisiana where her ancestors were slaves and then free laborers. For years, the place has been a living-history museum, complete with slave quarters and school tours and Gone-with-the-Wind weddings.

The fields are still worked, mostly by Latinos (some illegal) employed by a giant agribusiness, and one of these laborers has been murdered in the sugarcane. There are family problems, racial realities, and political shenanigans (all with historical context) that Caren must deal with in trying to figure out the layers of this mystery in the present and another death (parallel in several ways) that emerges from the distant past.

The suspense is palpable -- sometimes even spooky -- as is the sense of geographical and historical atmosphere. The characters live and breathe, and I cared greatly about their outcomes. Despite a somewhat improbable ending to this puzzle, I think Locke is a very promising young author, and I look forward to more from her. The narrator is just perfect for this listen.

I found "The Cutting Season" to be an entertaining and often moving look into the main character's (and all of our) very complicated relationship with America's past and present and the changes which inevitably come.

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50 of 52 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By karen on 17-01-13

Too bad, disappointing....

This is probably a reasonably good book. Unfortunately, the audio version was made difficult to listen to because of the quirks of the narrator. Couldn't wait to finish -- actually I did finish only because I'm so cheap. I spent the credit on this thing, I thought I should listen to the end -- which means, of course, I paid for it twice. Once in cash, the second time in wasted time.

This is one of those that when you start to notice the puffing, the strange phrasing and way-too-dramatic cadence the narrator employed, it's all you can focus on. Parts of the book grabbed me, and I listened intently for short periods, but then once the literary crisis was over, my mind reverted to concentrating on the weird narration again.

It could be that the producers wanted this kind of narration -- that's possible. Quincy Tyler Bernstine uses the cant of the professional storyteller, you know, the elderly crone who sits by the fireside and spins ethnic tales of old, folklore, using a sing-song cadence. That kind of narration might work if it comes in eight minute segments, when you're sitting on the library floor with all the other nice little boys and girls. But to listen to it for over 12 hours is painful, not to mention seriously annoying.

Very disappointing. I thought the blurb about the book sounded interesting. Maybe it was, in the printed version. But now I know to stay away from this narrator in the future.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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