Attica Locke found the nugget for The Cutting Season (HarperCollins, $25.99) when she attended a wedding on a plantation. She transformed the actual location into the fictional Belle Vie, run as a historic theme-park by the Clancy family. When a young Hispanic woman is found murdered on the property, the incident and the investigation stir long-simmering personal, racial, and economic tensions. As Belle Vie’s owners try to manipulate each other, conflicts erupt among the workers; Caren Gray, a single-mother who runs the day-to-day operations, finds herself caught in the middle of it all. This is a complex, wonderfully written story that brings the past and the present together in a small town in post-Katrina Louisiana.
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