Synopses & Reviews
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 page-turner 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).
"Locke follows her debut, Black Water Rising, with a convoluted tale about the Louisiana antebellum plantation Belle Vie and two multigenerational families that have occupied it for more than a century. Caren Gray, whose great-great-great grandfather was a slave, manages the entire staff for Belle Vie, which caters weddings and parties and stages shows about plantation life in the old days. The Clancys trace their lineage back to William Tynan, who acquired the plantation after the Civil War. Patriarch Leland Clancy's wife restored the mansion now run by her son Raymond. The discovery of the body of a cane field worker from the adjacent farm on Belle Vie property triggers a chain of events that embroils Caren, her nine-year-old daughter, the Clancys, and others in an investigation that finds its antecedents in the two families' entwined histories. The murder and its solution take second place as Locke charts the South's troubled progress since slavery through a surfeit of subplots. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“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, < i=""> New York Times <> bestselling author of < i=""> Wench <>
“The Cutting Season is a novel about the shifting definitions of family, the persistent pull of history, the sterling promise of home, and the stunning power of love. It pulled me in and held me close to the very last page.” Tayari Jones, author of < i=""> Silver Sparrow <>
"A layered, nuanced mystery with a social conscience. Weaving legal, social, historical, and economic elements into the story of a changing family, it's a good choice for readers who enjoy multifaceted mysteries." Library Journal
"Locke's [The Cutting Season] is written with fluidity and elegance, evoking the uniqueness of her setting and the nuances in the relationships of her characters, complicated by race, class, and history." Kirkus Reviews
“The impressively astute Attica Locke writes . . . in much the same way that Mr. Lehane [does]. . . . Each is willing to use the murder mystery as a framework for much more ambitious, atmospheric fiction.” New York Times
"[An] atmospheric . . . nuanced look at the South's tragic past and one strong woman's stand against ingrained cultural and economic oppression." Booklist
“Compelling. . . . A mystery that expands the whole idea of the mystery, reaching from the present deeply into the past. . . . Great writing, the kind that gives you goose bumps.” Los Angeles Times
“One of the most engaging and gifted new voices in the genre. . . . The Cutting Season does more than exhume a bodyit rattles the bones of slavery, race, class, and power to examine a crime that reverberates from more than a century ago.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Although The Cutting Season succeeds as a thriller, above all it is a well-crafted warning about the damage wroughtgenerational, social, romanticwhen the past is distorted or denied.” Financial Times
“I was first struck by Attica Lockes prose, then by the ingenuity of her narrative and finally and most deeply by the depth of her humanity. She writes with equal amounts grace and passion. . . . Id probably read the phone book if her name was on the spine.” Dennis Lehane
“A thoughtful, well-written and absorbing read with a surprising ending.” Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Dripping with southern Gothic atmosphere. . . . Equal parts murder mystery and family drama, the novel also draws readers in through its considerations of African-American history and life in post-Katrina Louisiana.” USA Today
“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
Attica Lockes breathtaking debut novel, Black Water Rising, won resounding acclaim from major publications coast-to-coast and from respected crime fiction masters like James Ellroy and George Pelecanos, earning this exciting new author comparisons to Dennis Lehane, Scott Turow, and Walter Mosley. 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 Lousianas 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. The Cutting Season has been selected by bestselling author Dennis Lehane as the first pick for his new line of books at HarperCollins.
About the Author
Attica Locke is the author of Black Water Rising, which was nominated for a 2010 Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award, and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was shortlisted for the UK's Orange Prize; and the national bestseller The Cutting Season, which won the 2013 Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. She is a coproducer and writer on the Fox drama Empire. A graduate of Northwestern University, she is on the board of directors for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, where she lives.