Release Date: Sept. 18/2012
Adquired: Print ARC provided by publisher
The American South in the twenty-first century. A plantation owned for generations by a rich family. So much history. And a dead body.
Just after dawn, Caren walks the grounds of Belle Vie, the historic plantation house in Louisiana that she has managed for four years. Today she sees nothing unusual, apart from some ground that has been dug up by the fence bordering the sugar can fields. Assuming an animal has been out after dark, she asks the gardener to tidy it up. Not long afterwards, he calls her to say it's something else. Something terrible. A dead body. At a distance, she missed her. The girl, the dirt and the blood. Now she has police on site, an investigation in progress, and a member of staff no one can track down. And Caren keeps uncovering things she will wish she didn't know. As she's drawn into the dead girl's story, she makes shattering discoveries about the future of Belle Vie, the secrets of its past, and sees, more clearly than ever, that Belle Vie, its beauty, is not to be trusted.
A magnificent, sweeping story of the south, The Cutting Season brings history face-to-face with modern America, where Obama is president, but some things will never change. Attica Locke once again provides an unblinking commentary on politics, race, the law, family and love, all within a thriller every bit as gripping and tragic as her first novel, Black Water Rising.
This book put me in the EXACT right mood for a spooky month of reads in October-the perfect Halloween mood. The Cutting Season was in no way a paranormal book, but the tone, and dark atmosphere surrounding the narrative was haunting, and crept into the dark bits of your brain. It opened with the discovery of a dead body, and then quietly took you by the hand, as it wove it's way through twists, possible suspects, and a closet full of secrets.
I LOVED that the main female lead was an African-American woman. I feel like diversity is still lacking in a HUGE way throughout fiction, a fact that BLOWS my mind, especially considering the large steps we've taken, as human beings, to be less ignorant towards ethnic backgrounds different from our own *deep breathe*. Caren Gray was instantly intriguing: her poise, her confidence, and her unconditional love for her daughter, Morgan. She was a woman in change, in both a literal and figurative sense of the word. There were times when I just wanted to see her break out of her heavily guarded shell, it was, at times, hard to follow her narrative below the surface, she only went so deep. The people surrounding and included in Caren's day to day life, her staff, were an eclectic group of people, to say the least. I definitely connected with them a lot faster than I did with the main characters, however, there were SO many of them to initially remember, I was constantly mixing them up.
The main mystery in The Cutting Season, the search to find a murderer, was aided by a rich and vibrant history lesson of the Civil War. Caren finds herself with another unexpected mystery to solve: the disappearance of her great-great-great-GREAT Grandfather. The scenes played liked flashbacks in my mind, like I can almost see the present setting fading into the background, and the past come into clear view-filled with the sights, sounds and disturbing facts that helped lead Caren to a shocking conclusion. I loved that angle, the narrative was reminiscent of Jodi Picoult's Second Glance, where the past blended, almost seamlessly, into the present. Where something that happened almost 200 years ago, somehow linked itself to a mystery in the future.
The twists that sporadically showed themselves at the end of chapters could have done with some more fanfare, and to be honest, I kind of predicted the ending well before it ended. However, the ride there was stunning. I loved Attica Locke's melodic, and richly descriptive prose. I found myself just enjoying the writing for what it made me feel, and not so much for the story it was trying to tell. Novels set in Southern states almost always seem to have that affect on me. I'm a city girl at heart, so to be able to escape to warm winds blowing through a plantation field, a massive, columned, colonial home just feet away, and that homemade southern cooking..oh MAN. If you're looking for a mystery that you won't put down until you finish, The Cutting Season will take you away from the cold for a little while. It definitely did that for me.
Recommended for Fans of: Mysteries, Thrillers, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Cultural Fiction.
Attica Locke’s first novel, Black Water Rising, was shortlisted for the prestigious Orange Prize in the UK in 2010. It was nominated for a 2010 Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award, as well as a Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a Strand Magazine Critics Award. The novel was also a finalist for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award.
In addition, Attica has spent many years working as a screenwriter, penning movie and television scripts for Paramount, Warner Bros, Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, HBO, and Dreamworks. She was a fellow at the Sundance Institute’s Feature Filmmakers Lab and is a graduate of Northwestern University. A native of Houston, Texas, Attica lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and daughter. She is a member of the board of directors for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles.her website here!