The Cutting Season

The Cutting Season

3.54 (10,392 ratings by Goodreads)
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Just after dawn, Caren walks the grounds of Belle Vie, the historic plantation house in Louisiana that she has managed for the past four years. Today she sees nothing unusual, apart from some ground that has been dug up by the fence bordering the sugar cane 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.

At a distance, Caren missed her. The body, 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 woman's story, she makes shattering discoveries about the plantation's past, its future, and a killer who may be a lot closer than she thinks ...

A magnificent, sweeping story of the south, The Cutting Season brings history face-to-face with modern America. 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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 37mm | 669g
  • Serpent's Tail
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 1846689120
  • 9781846689123
  • 519,416

About Attica Locke

Attica Locke's first novel, Black Water Rising, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, nominated for an Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Attica is also a screenwriter who has written for Paramount, Warner Bros, Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, HBO, Dreamworks and Silver Pictures. 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, with her husband and daughter.
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Review quote

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 -- Dennis Lehane The Cutting Season is a rare murder mystery with heft, a historical that thrills, a page-turner that makes you think. Attica Locke is a dazzling writer with a conscience -- Dolen Perkins-Valdez, author of Wench An intelligent and beguiling mystery that examines how our past haunts our present, told by a unique voice in contemporary crime fiction -- Stuart Neville Attica Locke's work raises searingly important questions that demand to be answered. The Cutting Season is about the dark possibilities that lie within us all. A thrilling read -- Esi Edugyan Gripping, atmospheric and tragic. Top class literary crime fiction from the Orange Prize shortlisted author of Black Water Rising. * Lovereading * This claustrophobic and highly atmospheric tale is illuminating as a portrait of a time and place. It's also a fascinating mystery story by a remarkably accomplished writer. * Literary Review * Written with a deft hand and a clear eye, this is superior stuff. * Big Issue * In Locke's hands this would have provided a good crime novel on its own, but she has woven through it an engrossing exploration of freedom in all its trickiest aspects ... The Cutting Season is an involving and moving novel, which shows why so many thoughtful writers choose crime fiction through which to explore their ideas -- N J Cooper * BookOxygen * Locke exploits her setting well, creating some genuinely unnerving moments. But this is not a whodunit for thrill-seekers. The Cutting Season is interested in more subtle complex questions of identity, family and history * Daily Mail * The Cutting Season is a novel firmly anchored in its place, one attempting to adjust not only to its distant past but also to more recent events: the Obama presidency, hurricane Katrina, the impact of the oil industry on the gulf. Even more timely are allusions to US election campaigns and the interplay between money and power ... above all [The Cutting Season] is a well-crafted warning about the damage wrought - generational, social, romantic - when the past is distorted or denied -- Maria Crawford * Financial Times * It's a novel rich in atmosphere, strong in story, but at its heart The Cutting Season hinges on human complexity. The tangled rope of some kind of history has a stranglehold on everyone at the heart of this book, and their relationships give it a texture that reminds us why we come to fiction rather than the historical account. There are solutions here but no easy answers for Caren Gray, or the rest of us ... Irresistibly reminiscent of Faulkner's resigned maxim, "The past is never dead. It's not even past", The Cutting Season does what the best crime fiction can do: it illuminates our present in the light of our past and explains us to ourselves. On this evidence, Attica Locke is more than capable of that. And also of leaving us on the edge of our seats, hearts in our mouths -- Val McDermid * Guardian * This claustrophobic and highly atmospheric tale is illuminating as a portrait of a time and place. It's also a fascinating mystery story by a remarkably accomplished writer * Literary Review * Meeting the gregarious, whip-smart Houston native is like being immediately enfolded in a big hug. And to read her books is to be plunged into a world of richly imagined characters engaged with realities that stretch well beyond simple whodunnit conundrums * Metro * Utterly gripping. The Cutting Season also makes some serious points about race in post-Obama America * Observer * Locke cleverly plays on [Louisiana's] history and racial tensions to create a book that is far more than a crime novel, and that covers the fallout from divorce, regret, poverty and bitter family secrets * Psychologies * This is a highly engrossing and genuinely thought-provoking piece of crime fiction: one that reminds us of the genre's potential to go well beyond simple entertainment * Independent * A leisurely and luxuriantly southern book that is rich with detail ... The book's best feature is its plantation pageantry, along with the blindingly swoony reactions is prompts on all sides of the social and racial divide -- Janet Maslin * New York Times * Locke handles Caren's relationship with her daughter with convincing sensitivity and beautifully conveys the atmosphere of a sad past haunting a benighted present * The Times * History in the novel is a palpable presence, and presses down on the present with suffocating force ... Soaked in atmosphere, in the wet, drunk air of the south where "the cane, like cut grass and sweet milk, damp and terrestrial" pervades everything, the past lies in layers upon layers in this story ... Locke was shortlisted for the Orange prize for her debut thriller, Black Water Rising. This is even better -- Alison Flood * Observer * This thriller from Orange Prize-shortlisted author Attica Locke will keep you engulfed in suspense and steeped in a horrific history * The Voice * The Cutting Season is immediately engaging, and Locke has the expert plotting skills you might expect from a seasoned screenwriter - tension and conflict stalk every page. There's also a fantastic evocation of place and character - all her main players are believable and well-rounded, and Belle Vie is almost a character itself, so vividly is it painted * We Love This Book * The language of [Attica Locke's] storytelling is sturdy and absorbing. Who can resist the opening scene of a wedding in which a cottonmouth "measuring the length of a Cadillac" falls from a live oak into the lap of the bride's future mother-in-law, then is brushed away with the observation that "it only briefly stopped the ceremony, this being Louisiana after all" * New York Times *
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Rating details

10,392 ratings
3.54 out of 5 stars
5 14% (1,491)
4 38% (3,970)
3 37% (3,797)
2 9% (945)
1 2% (189)
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