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The Cutting Season    by Attica Locke order for
Cutting Season
by Attica Locke
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2013 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Belle Vie, a plantation along the Mississippi River, has had a checkered history - first belonging to a white man, then homesteaded to a black man, finally seized by an unscrupulous white man. That man's family has improved the land and its buildings enough that, even though it is no longer lived in, it has become a prime location for weddings and lavish parties.

The story begins when Caren, touring the property, discovers a body in a corner that adjoins a cane farm. Caren has a long history with Belle Vie. Her grandparents were slaves on the plantation, and she grew up hanging around the kitchen where her mother was the cook. Now, as the manager of the property, Caren is responsible to see that its activities are not interrupted by this unsettling news. While she struggles to understand how such a thing could happen on her watch, she also comes to realize the strange hold Belle Vie and its people, past and present, have on her life.

Attica Locke has a way of keeping us in suspense while she develops her plot. We meet interesting characters, some who could be suspects. Unfortunately, the sheriff feels he already has the murderer, which means he gives no credence to Caren's quite different suspicions. But for Caren, ferreting out the truth not only means justice will be done but also that she may finally be able to come to terms with Belle Vie and the effect it has had on her life.

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