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 and 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.
Hardcover, 384 pages Published September 18th 2012 by Harper ISBN 0061802050 (ISBN13: 9780061802058)
The Cutting Seasonis a read that I would consider soft-mystery. Although there is a murder mystery at the heart of the story, it’s not a novel that I would call a thriller, nor did the mystery keep me on the edge of my seat.
The focus of the story was Caren, her family, friends and co-workers who all have a connection to this plantation. As a divorced single mother and manager of the plantation, Caren is inquisitive and concerned about the fact the body was found so close to home.
The writing was best when describing the beautiful scenery, the comfort of home feel on the modern day plantation and the relationships that exist between the people who live and work there. It focuses on family history and the friendships throughout the years that have built this community, with some emphasis on the estate’s history with slavery and what has brought it to the current day.
Caren is driven to find answers to the murder because of the connection to her young daughter. Her daughter has said things to her that make her wonder where she wandered off to that night. And then there’s the blood she found on her daughter’s shirt.
Things get more complicated when Caren calls her newly engaged ex-husband to tell him the news and her concerns. His visit will bring more emotional turmoil to the situation than she was ready for. But what will this murder and the connection to the plantation do for her future? Only finding the murderer can she answer that question. She delves into the mystery finding out more than she ever imagined.
This book will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction. It has complicated relationships and an action packed ending.