The Cutting Season
By Attica Locke
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061802065, 384pp.)
Publication Date: September 2013
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Caren Gray manages Louisiana's stately Belle Vie, an antebellum plantation-turned-tourist attraction where the past and the present coexist uneasily. Outside the gates, an ambitious corporation snaps up sugarcane fields from struggling families, replacing local employees with illegal laborers. Tensions mount when a female migrant worker is found in a shallow grave on the edge of the plantation property, her throat cut clean through.
As the sheriff's department zeroes in on a suspect, Caren suspects the police are chasing the wrong leads. Putting herself at risk, she unearths startling secrets about the long-ago disappearance of a former slave that has unsettling ties to the current murder--secrets that a desperate killer will stop at nothing to keep buried.
Taut, hauntingly resonant, and beautifully written, The Cutting Season is a thoughtful meditation on how America reckons its past with its future.
She was a struggling screenwriter before hitting it big with her books, including The Cutting Season. Locke talks with NPR's Michel Martin about the inspiration for her thrillers, and how she straddles the past and present of African-American life in her writing. More at NPR.org
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