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Just after dawn, Caren inspects the grounds of Belle Vie, the historic plantation house she manages. Back at her office, the gardener calls to tell her she missed something. Something terrible.At a distance, she didn't see. A young woman lying face down in a shallow grave, her throat cut clean.So there will be police, asking questions. The family who own Belle Vie will have to be told. There's a school group on the way to visit. Where is Donovan, the member of staff no one has seen?And all the time, Caren is thinking that there are only so many keys, only so many ways in to Belle Vie with its six foot high perimeter fence. And as she lives on site with her daughter, she wonders: how much danger are they in?A thriller with as much heart as it has pace, Attica Locke combines a riveting mystery with a shattering story of how our history is never just the past.
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Bury your bodies deep, and your secrets deeper.

About the Author

Attica Locke's first novel Black Water Rising was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, nominated for an Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Attica is also a screenwriter who has written for Paramount, Warner Bros, Twentieth Century Fox, HBO and Dreamworks. A native of Houston, Texas, Attica lives in Los Angeles, with her husband and daughter.

Reviews

Caren Gray faces down the ugly history of slavery daily-she manages the Belle Vie plantation for its owners, the Clancy family. For generations, her family worked for the Clancys, and she and her nine-year-old daughter found refuge here after Hurricane Katrina. Caren's routine of coordinating school tours, weddings, and banquets is interrupted by the grisly discovery of a migrant worker's body on the property. The police zero in on a suspect, but Caren is unconvinced they have their man. Her investigation unearths more than she bargained for-and she realizes how widespread the repercussions of slavery still ripple. VERDICT Locke's second novel (after 2009's Black Water Rising) is a layered, nuanced mystery with a social conscience. Weaving legal, social, historical, and economic elements into the story of a changing family, it's a good choice for readers who enjoy multifaceted mysteries with a strong female protagonist and that blur genre distinctions. [See Prepub Alert, 4/23/12; author Dennis Lehane picked this title as his first selection for his eponymous imprint at HarperCollins.-Ed.]-Amy -Brozio-Andrews, Albany P.L., NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Locke follows her debut, Black Water Rising, with a convoluted tale about the Louisiana antebellum plantation Belle Vie and two multigenerational families that have occupied it for more than a century. Caren Gray, whose great-great-great grandfather was a slave, manages the entire staff for Belle Vie, which caters weddings and parties and stages shows about plantation life in the old days. The Clancys trace their lineage back to William Tynan, who acquired the plantation after the Civil War. Patriarch Leland Clancy's wife restored the mansion now run by her son Raymond. The discovery of the body of a cane field worker from the adjacent farm on Belle Vie property triggers a chain of events that embroils Caren, her nine-year-old daughter, the Clancys, and others in an investigation that finds its antecedents in the two families' entwined histories. The murder and its solution take second place as Locke charts the South's troubled progress since slavery through a surfeit of subplots. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Rich in atmosphere, strong in story, hinges on human complexity -- Val McDermid * Guardian * Genuinely unnerving ... interested in subtle, complex questions of identity, family and history * Daily Mail * Locke was shortlisted for the Orange prize for her debut. This is even better * Observer * Far more than a crime novel, covers the fallout from divorce, regret, poverty and bitter family secrets * Psychologies * An intelligent and beguiling mystery that examines how our past haunts our present, told by a unique voice in contemporary crime fiction -- Stuart Neville Attica Locke writes with equal amounts grace and passion. After just two novels, I'd probably read the phone book if her name was on the spine -- Dennis Lehane Attica Locke is a stand-out in every way -- James Ellroy Attica Locke's work raises searingly important questions that demand to be answered. The Cutting Season is about the dark possibilities that lie within us all. A thrilling read -- Esi Edugyan A good crime novel on its own, but Locke has woven through it an engrossing exploration of freedom in all its trickiest aspects ... an involving and moving novel -- N J Cooper A well-crafted warning about the damage wrought - generational, social, romantic - when the past is distorted or denied * Financial Times * Beautifully conveys the atmosphere of a sad past haunting a benighted present * The Times * This is a highly engrossing and genuinely thought-provoking piece of crime fiction: one that reminds us of the genre's potential to go well beyond simple entertainment * Independent * A subtle thriller with real historical heft -- Fachtna Kelly * Sunday Business POst *

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