The elegant grounds of Belle Vie are haunted by ghosts of the past. Once a working sugar cane plantation, Belle Vie has become a historic tourist attraction featuring costumed performers and events. Caren Gray grew up at Belle Vie: her mother worked for the Clancy family -- the owners of the plantation -- and Caren is now the manager of the facility. Both the Grays and the Clancys have been tied to the land for generations, able to trace their families back to Civil War days. When a body is discovered just outside Belle Vie's old slave quarters, suspicion immediately falls on Belle Vie employees. Caren is sure none of her workers could possibly be responsible, but the authorities aren't listening. Soon there are murmurings of a possible closure, rumors that force Caren to reevaluate her own links to the land as well as her family history. Before long Caren finds herself at the center of two mysteries, that of the body recently discovered and the fate of her oldest Belle Vie ancestor, a freed slave named Jason who went missing generations ago.
Attica Locke's second release marks the launch of Dennis Lehane's imprint with HarperCollins. It's easy to see why Locke caught Lehane's eye, The Cutting Season is a masterfully plotted mystery with an amazing depth of story and character.
I loved the interweaving of the two mysteries. Jason's story is revealed as the current mystery unfolds and Locke balances the modern and historic very well. In fact, her attention to detail is one of the things that makes the book so great. The stories, the characters, and the setting are all very carefully built and completely come to life.
Locke was recently interviewed on NPR's Morning Edition. It's a short interview but it makes a great prelude to the book itself as Locke explains her inspiration for the book and some of the things she considered in writing the story.
To see more stops on the tour, visit the official TLC tour page here. For more on Attica, you can visit her official website (link above). You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.