Thursday, September 27, 2012

THE CUTTING SEASON - Attica Locke

First line: "It was during the Thompson-Delacroix wedding, Caren's first day on the job, that a cottonmouth, measuring the length of a Cadillac, fell some twenty feet from a live oak on the front lawn, landing like a coil of rope in the lap of the bride's future mother-in-law."

Caren Gray manages the Belle Vie Plantation, the same plantation where her ancestors worked as slaves and her mother ran the kitchen. Caren grew up on Belle Vie and swore she would escape its hold on her family, but after dropping out of law school and having a baby, she returned to the only home she knew. And life seemed to be going along just fine, until the body was discovered.

The discovery of a migrant farm worker murdered and buried in a shallow grave seems to be the domino that starts the progressive fall of Caren's stable life. Caren is certain her daughter knows more about the murder than she's admitting; the owners of Belle Vie may be selling the plantation, whereby leaving Caren unemployed and homeless; her daughter's father shows up bringing back all the feelings and confusion she thought she'd left behind; and the local sheriff seems to have it in for Caren. Life is never going to be the same for Caren, but will she still have a life left before the murder is solved?

THE CUTTING SEASON is Attica Locke's second novel and the debut novel of the Dennis Lehane imprint with HarperCollins.

From page one Locke builds a haunting atmosphere for the novel. The ghosts that inhabit the Belle Vie plantation don't show up in visions or as unbelievable apparitions. Rather they haunt the souls of the present generation, and they're indiscriminate when it comes to skin color or ancestry.

THE CUTTING SEASON is neither a story of retribution nor a story of how a segment of the population were wronged during our nation's history. It IS a story of discovery, of realization, of individuals. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to learn we are defining ourselves by the wrong standards.

Locke's characters are richly developed and yet every single one maintains an air of mystery about them, helping to drive the suspense of the novel. Readers will find empathizing with the characters to be an easy task. They will also find it easy to wonder, "why would you do that?" Don't we also wonder that of ourselves?

The crime is the central event of THE CUTTING SEASON, but the themes that intertwine with that crime flavor the overall novel. An especially poignant theme being the mother-daughter relationship. Caren's relationship with her own mother comes out via Caren's memories while the relationship with her daughter plays out in real time. The contradictions in these relationships remind us how intricate and fragile and beautiful they are:

"She couldn't put her in a corner or physically wrest the truth out of her. At this stage, the two of them, mother and daughter, were left with the crudeness of language, the imprecision of words."

Many times the volume of the actions drown out the sound of our words; sometimes having our mother brush our hair or pick our clothes registers hundreds of decibels above "I love you."

Through her vivid setting and relaxed tone, Locke allows the stereotypical slow Southern nature to embrace the Belle Vie Plantation. And through her mysterious characters and multi-layered plot, she ramps up readers' anticipation. THE CUTTING SEASON may well be the fastest, laid back novel of 2012.

And the writing is simply exquisite. Whether it's beauty, horror or the mundane she's describing, Locke finds the symbols, metaphors and words that allow her readers to see, hear, taste, smell and feel the experience:

"It's the rain, too, she said, that likely brought the bone up from out of the ground, pushing it out like a depraved and dirty birth, death clawing its way back toward the light above."

The plot has an ideally readable complexity that demands the reader bring his/her own experiences, beliefs and biases into the reading process. And because of that unique element, every reader will undergo a singular experience and walk away altered in a different way. THE CUTTING SEASON will make a perfect bookclub choice to see this effect.

The characters of Locke's THE CUTTING SEASON are haunted by their Belle Vie ancestors; readers will find themselves equally haunted by her gorgeous sophomore novel.

THE CUTTING SEASON is available from Harper in hardcover (ISBN: 9780061802058) and is available as an unabridged audio, narrated by Quincy Tyler Bernstine, from Harper Audio (ISBN: 9780062205179)

2 comments:

SuziQoregon September 28, 2012 at 3:46 PM  

Oh this one sounds GOOD!! Thanks for calling it to my attention. As I was adding it to my library wish list I looked up her first novel - that one sounds quite intriguing too.

Peppermint Ph.D. September 29, 2012 at 11:29 AM  

sounds good to me as well...adding it to the ole wishlist :)

Labels

2011 2012 2013 Ace Atkins Adrian McKinty Agnete Friis Alafair Burke Alan Bradley Alan Glynn Alan Orloff Alex Berenson Alex Dryden Alexandra Sokoloff Andrew Grant Andrew Gross Anne Zouroudi Annie Barrows Ariana Franklin Arne Dahl Attica Locke audiobook jukebox Audiobooks author events Author Q/A Barry Eisler Bernard Cornwell Beth Ann Fennelly Bill Cameron Bill Crider Bill Loehfelm Bill Pronzini blog tour Book Events Book News Brad Meltzer Brad Parks Brent Ghelfi Brett Battles Brian Azzarello Brian Freeman Brian McGilloway Bryan Gruley C. J. Box C.J. West Camilla Läckberg Cara Black Carl Hiaasen Carla Buckley Carlos Ruiz Zafon Carter Wilson Catriona McPherson Charles Cumming Charlie Huston Charlie Newton Chevy Stevens Chris Grabenstein Chris Holm Chris Kluwe Christa Faust Christopher Reich Christopher Rice Chuck Greaves CJ Lyons Claude Berube Colin Cotterill Cozy Mystery Craig Johnson Craig McDonald CRCRC crime caper Crime Fiction Crime Writers Caught Recommending Crime CWCRC D.A. Mishani Dana Cameron Daniel Palmer Daniel Silva DATW Dave Barry David Baldacci David Corbett David Ellis David Handler David Hayward David Morrell David Rosenfelt Deborah Coonts Deborah Crombie Declan Burke Denise Hamilton Denise Mina Dennis Lehane Detective Fiction Diane Stuckart Don Bruns Don Winslow Donald E Westlake Donato Carrisi Douglas Corleone Duane Swierczynski dystopian Earl Emerson ebook Ed Lynskey Edoardo Ballerini Elizabeth Hand Elizabeth Haynes Emma Donoghue Eric Beetner F. Paul Wilson FFB Five on Friday Focus Features Forensic Science Foul Play Books Francine Mathews Gabriella Herkert Gar Anthony Haywood Gayle Lynds General Fiction George Guidall George Pelecanos Gillian Flynn Graham Brown Gregg Hurwitz Hallie Ephron Hank Phillippi Ryan Harlan Coben Harley Jane Kozak Harper Lee Herman Koch Heroes and Villains Hilary Davidson Historical Fiction Hugh Laurie Ian Rankin Inger Frimansson Ingrid Thoft international thriller J.J. Myers J.T. Ellison James Barney James Conway James Crumley James DuPont James Fredericks James Grippando James Lee Burke James LePore James O. Born Jamie Freveletti Jan Burke Jane Cleland Janet Evanovich January LaVoy Jassy Mackenzie Jed Rubenfeld Jeff Abbott Jeff Woodman Jeffery Deaver Jeffrey Cohen Jeffrey Siger Jennifer McMahon JIAB2011 JIAM2013 Jill Thompson Jo Nesbø Joelle Charbonneau John Connolly John Grisham John Hart John Lescroart John Sandford John Shannon John Verdon Johnny Shaw Jon Land Jonathan Hayes Jonathan Kellerman Jonathan Schuppe Joseph Finder Joseph Wallace Joseph Wambaugh Josh Bazell Josh Corin Joy Castro Julia Heaberlin Julia Pomeroy Julia Spencer-Fleming Julie Hyzy Juliet Blackwell Karen Fossum Karen Olson Karin Slaughter Katherine Kellgren Keith Thomson Kelli Stanley Kelly Braffet Ken Bruen Ken Isaacson Kevin Guilfoile Kimberly McCreight Lachlan Smith Laura Lippman Laurie R King Lawrence Block Lee Child Left Coast Crime Legal Thriller Lene Kaaberbøl Lenny Kleinfeld Les Roberts Liad Shoham Libby Hellmann Linda Castillo Linda Fairstein Linwood Barclay Lisa Ballantyne Lisa Black Lisa Brackmann Lisa Gardner Lisa Lutz Lisa Unger Literary Mystery Lori Roy Lou Berney Louis Bayard Louise Erdrich Louise Penny Louise Ure MacLeod Andrews Marcia Clark Marcus Sakey Mark Billingham Mark Gimenez Mark Hammer Mark Pryor Mark Sullivan Markus Zusak Martin Limon Martyn Waites Mary Higgins Clark Matt Coyle Matthew Dicks Matthew Pearl Matthew Quirk Medical Thriller Meg Gardiner Megan Abbott Memoirs Meredith Cole MfM 2011 Michael Chabon Michael Connelly Michael Harvey Michael Koryta Michael Lister Michael Stanley Michael Van Rooy Michael Wiley Michelle Gagnon Middle Grade Mike Lawson military thriller Murder and Mayhem in Muskego Narrator Interviews Nevada Barr Nonfiction novella NPM Oliver Harris Owen Laukkanen p.i. fiction paranormal Paranormal Thriller Pat Conroy Paul Levine Pete Larkin Peter Berkrot Peter Robinson PI Fiction poetry Police Procedural political thriller Psychological Thriller R.J. Ellory Ralph Cosham Raymond Chandler Rebecca Cantrell Reed Farrel Coleman Reg E. Cathey Review review copy Richard Lange Ridley Pearson Robert B. Parker Robert Crais Robert Dugoni Robert Fate Robert Greer Robert Gregory Browne Robert Pobi Robin Burcell Rochelle Staab romantic suspense Rosemary Harris Ross Macdonald Rupinder Gill Ruth Rendell Ryan David Jahn S. J. Watson S.J. Rozan Sandra Ruttan Sara Gruen Sara Henry Sara Paretsky Sarah Weinman Sasha Abramsky Sci-Fi scientific thriller Scott Turow Sean Black Sean Chercover Sean Doolittle Shane Gericke Shelf Awareness review Short Stories Simon Lewis Simon Prebble Simon Vance Simon Wood Six-word Memoirs Sophie Hannah Sophie Littlefield Spencer Quinn spy thriller Stefanie Pintoff Stephen Cannell Stephen Coonts Stephen Jay Schwartz Stephen King Stephen White Steve Forman Steve Hamilton Steve Hockensmith Steve Mosby Steve Ulfelder Steven Forman Stieg Larsson Stuart Macbride Sue Ann Jaffarian Sue Grafton Susan Arnout Smith Suspense/Mystery T. Jefferson Parker Tania Carver Tasha Alexander Tess Gerritsen theme week Theresa Schwegel Thomas Holland Thomas Kaufman Thomas Young Thriller Tim Dorsey Tim Maleeny Timothy Hallinan tlc book tours Todd Ritter Tom Franklin Tom Piccirilli Tom Schreck Toni McGee Causey Tony Hays Tony Hillerman Trevanian Truman Capote Val McDermid Victor Gischler Walter Mosley Warren Ellis Wayne Arthurson Will Lavender William Kent Krueger Xe Sands xuni author Yasmina Khadra Young Adult Young Readers Yrsa Sigurdardóttir Zoë Sharp

Great Indie Bookstores

xuni

xuni
An amazing collection of authors!

TLC Book Tours

Traffic Map

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed

Google+ Followers

Our Blogger Templates Web Design


  © Blogger templates 'Neuronic' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP