The Cutting Season
By Attica Locke
Haunting, not just for the setting, but the language and the story itself. Definitely a change of feeling from the Crime section, intriguing and slow moving like walking on a muggy day… Asking questions about parts of history not everyone is entirely comfortable with.
Caren Gray is the general manager of Belle Vie, a sprawling antebellum plantation where the past and the present coexist uneasily. The estate’s owners have turned the place into an eerie tourist attraction complete with full-dress re-enactments and carefully restored slave quarters. Outside the gates, an ambitious corporation has been busy snapping up land from struggling families who have grown sugar cane for generations, replacing local employees with illegal labourers. Tensions mount when the body of a female migrant worker is found in a shallow grave on the edge of the property, her throat cut clean. The list of suspects is long, but when the cops zero in on a person of interest, Caren has a feeling they’re chasing the wrong leads. Putting herself at risk, she unearths startling new facts about an old mystery—the long-ago disappearance of a former slave—that has unsettling ties to the modern-day crime. In pursuit of the truth about Belle Vie’s history — and her own — Caren discovers secrets about both cases that an increasingly desperate killer will do anything to keep hidden.