The Cutting Season: A Novel

The Cutting Season: A Novel

3.2 45
by Attica Locke
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

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 

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Dennis Lehane
“I was first struck by Attica Locke’s 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. . . . I’d probably read the phone book if her name was on the spine.”
Dolen Perkins-Valdez
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.”
Tayari Jones
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.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“One of the most engaging and gifted new voices in the genre. . . . The Cutting Season does more than exhume a body—it rattles the bones of slavery, race, class, and power to examine a crime that reverberates from more than a century ago.”
New York Times
“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.”
Los Angeles Times
“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.”
Financial Times
“Although The Cutting Season succeeds as a thriller, above all it is a well-crafted warning about the damage wrought—generational, social, romantic—when the past is distorted or denied.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A thoughtful, well-written and absorbing read with a surprising ending.”
USA Today
“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.”
Publishers Weekly
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. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Caren Gray faces down the ugly history of slavery daily—she manages the Belle Vie plantation for its owners, the Clancy family. For generations, her family worked for the Clancys, and she and her nine-year-old daughter found refuge here after Hurricane Katrina. Caren's routine of coordinating school tours, weddings, and banquets is interrupted by the grisly discovery of a migrant worker's body on the property. The police zero in on a suspect, but Caren is unconvinced they have their man. Her investigation unearths more than she bargained for—and she realizes how widespread the repercussions of slavery still ripple. VERDICT Locke's second novel (after 2009's Black Water Rising) is 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 with a strong female protagonist and that blur genre distinctions. [See Prepub Alert, 4/23/12; author Dennis Lehane picked this title as his first selection for his eponymous imprint at HarperCollins.—Ed.]—Amy Brozio-Andrews, Albany P.L., NY

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061802065
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/17/2013
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
596,810
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

Tayari Jones

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.”

Dolen Perkins-Valdez

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.”

Dennis Lehane

“I was first struck by Attica Locke’s 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. . . . I’d probably read the phone book if her name was on the spine.”

Meet the Author

Attica Locke is the author of Black Water Rising, which was nominated for an Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award, and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was short-listed for the UK’s Orange Prize, and also the national bestseller The Cutting Season, which won an Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. She is a producer and writer on the Fox drama Empire. She is on the board of directors for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, where she lives.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Cutting Season: A Novel 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Twink More than 1 year ago
I have a mental list of authors that I faithfully follow and I pick up everything they write. I know what I like and I have a good idea of what I'll be reading. But on the other side of that coin - picking up a book by an unfamiliar author is an adventure. The Cutting Season is Attica Locke's second book. I missed her debut novel - Black Water Rising - it won numerous prize nominations and lots of praise. But, after reading The Cutting Season, I can see why. Attica Locke is good -really good. Caren Gray and her young daughter have returned home to Belle Vie - the Louisiana plantation Caren was raised on. Her family history with Belle Vie stretches back to the days when her ancestors were slaves in the sugar cane fields. Now the plantation is a tourist attraction and Caren is the manager. It's not the path she wanted to pursue in life and she has mixed feelings about returning to the plantation. When an migrant worker is found murdered on the grounds, old and new wounds are opened - long buried history and new controversy. And Caren puts herself in the middle.... Locke drew me in immediately. I was of course caught up in the present day whodunit. There are lots of suspects and the path to the answer is winding. But, at the same time, Caren is caught up in the disappearance of her ancestor Jason, one hundred years ago. Locke skillfully weaves the unravelling of both narratives together. The mysteries are intriguing, but I enjoyed Locke's exploration of race, politics, business, history and yes, love, just as much. The juxtaposition of abolished slavery and the plight of migrant workers today provides much food for thought. The character of Caren came across as 'real'. Her own uncertainties, her relationship with her daughter, her ex and her coworkers all rang true. All of the supporting characters were just as well drawn. Having worked as a historical interpreter I enjoyed the descriptions of the cast and their dialogue. Locke's prose are wonderfully rich and atmospheric and brought her settings to life. "That beneath its loamy topsoil, the manicured grounds and gardens, two centuries of breathtaking wealth and spectacle—a stark beauty both irrepressible and utterly incapable of even the smallest nod of contrition—lay a land both black and bitter, soft to the touch, and pressing in its power. She should have known that one day it would spit out what it no longer had use for, the secrets it would no longer keep.” For this reader, a winner on all fronts. (And I'll be hunting down that first book!) Locke has been added to my 'list'. Dennis Lehane has picked The Cutting Season as the first book for his new imprint for Harper Collins. "I was first struck by Attica Locke's 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. After just two novels, I'd probably read the phone book if her name was on the spine
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The South and the complicated emotions those words connate come alive in this engrossing tale whose characters and way of life come to true life. This tales not hard to belive and neither is Bel Vie.
Ruthless More than 1 year ago
I loved the setting: a restored plantation in Louisiana and the bits of real history woven into the story. The characters, especially Caren & her daughter, are not well developed. I think that each book by this author will get better, with time and experience.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this after seeing it in a list of recommended books for Christmas gifts. I am so glad I did. Caren, Mogan and the rest of the characters will draw you into the world of Belle Vie and the mysteries hidden there. Will definitely look forward to future books by the author.
VirtuousWomanKF More than 1 year ago
Oh how I love the South; the plantations, the people, the mystery, the landscape, the politics and the history. The Cutting Season has all of those things and more. This novel has a two -for-one mystery that keeps you so intrigued that you don't want to put it down. The characters are real and I loved how the author explored their emotions, personal demons, love for one another, their home and their sense of belonging. I found it very interesting how Ms. Locke compared some of the struggles of yesterday's slaves to today's migrant workers, and society's ignorance in treating them as though they were/are less the human. In one word - Shameless! Great story and I look forward to reading Ms. Locke's other work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story is part mystery part a historical novel; however never achieving either, always wishy washy in-between. The story kept me interested, so I guess it is okay. However, the characters are flat, the story line offers little surprises , and the end is a little strange. This book was recommended to me by someone who grew up around plantations. She love to revel in the memory. However, if you want to read a good book about plantations I would recommend 'The kitchen house'.
WindyDays More than 1 year ago
This book is okay. It has a really good plot.. But it just seems like a murder mystery where you keep looking and looking and looking... Typical.. Slightly boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is filled with great characters and a interesting mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the book. Looking forward to more by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read. I enjoyed the setting of the story especially after seeing the movie Lincoln. It is a mystery but somewhat a historical novel too. Just different setting for a change of pace.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will put you to sleep many times before you complete it. It has about 25% of the text that is useless drivel that contributes nothing to the story. Slow and boring from start to finish. I did finish reading all of it, but it was painful, and oh so boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book. Good ending
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RobertDowns More than 1 year ago
If you prefer prose that peppers your nose and wows you with wonder and awe, then you might find yourself having a grand time while reading about the Deep South, where the tea is always sweet, an afternoon rain happens daily, and the humidity is so thick you have to keep your head down and plow forward through the mist. With the opening line I was caught in time and found myself veering ahead with what might have been excitement mixed with hope. But alas she was a fairer lass than Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton who changed her mind at the drop of a dime, and I found myself rather chagrined with the story I was about to begin. It ended there this love affair, and I slogged through the rain in my poncho and galoshes, the rain splashing my face and assaulting my senses. I sneezed, and then sneezed again. The story could have been much more and something I could adore, but alas twas not meant to be, and so it shall go down in history as another two star read. What might have been much better in this little endeavor is if the plot and the ending matched the rest of the prose, instead of just taking me on a journey with atmosphere and vocabulary. What I discovered was a killer who spouted off a little too long in the mouth, and bequeathed our fair heroine with more than a few antidotes. If sugar cane and acid rain had mixed on the page and devoured this journey, tearing and ripping its way toward salvation, and extending the plot with more than a few thoughts, I might have found myself in the middle of THE CUTTING SEASON and happy to be placed out in the fields of labor. Instead, I feel I am the one who missed out on the fun, and now I must end this little simulation with a dance imitation and shuffle and grand production where the tourists with the t-shirts and flip-flops and backpacks shall endeavor to visit my plantation. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ConfuzzledShannon More than 1 year ago
Generations of Caren’s family have lived on Belle Vie.  From slaves to running the plantation as a historical reenactment site.  With a recent murder that her daughter has a connection to, Caren has more to deal with than ever. For a book that is labeled mystery I found a lot of it was predictable but sometimes addicting to read.   I say addicting because although I figured out who was working with the murderer I didn’t figure that Caren would keep so much from the police. The writing was okay I am not sure why but I could tell this was a newer author.   It was interesting that the love interest part did not overwhelm the story, like some mystery books do.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Caren has reluctantly returned home for a job and is taken back in time to discover hidden secrets about her family's past.  What she does with this information is very interesting! A working single mom, Caren was a fantastic character who was struggling with being a boss, but also a hometown girl.  I loved her inner battle with herself and finding her place.  With some mystery and intrigue this book had a great creepy factor that kept me turning and turning the pages!  I wanted to know who the killer was and why they committed the crime and I was quite satisfied with the outcome!  (no spoilers here!!) A fantastic piece of southern fiction that takes you back in time, but through the eyes of current people.  The twists and turns were timed perfectly and I would dare anyone to be able to put this book down at any point!