Friday, January 31, 2020

The Cutting Season by Attica Locke

The Cutting Season by Attica Locke is the last book I read in January 2020. I first became aware of Attica Locke as a writer in 2012 or 2013. 

Curious about Locke's writing (which I'd heard great things about), I purchased used hardback copies of her novels, The Cutting Season and Black Water Rising back in 2013. 

This year in an effort to read older books I've acquired over the years, I read The Cutting Season by Attica Locke. I must admit that I was a bit disappointed with The Cutting Season and didn't feel like this novel lived up to the high expectations based on reviews I'd read. 

With that said, it's not that I didn't like The Cutting Season... I enjoyed many aspects of this novel. It's very atmospheric in nature, which I liked. I also liked the setting for this novel and that it was a mystery novel. The mystery was interesting and so was the main character's backstory/family history.

But I also feel like The Cutting Season is slow in parts and could have been made shorter. I feel like there were too many things the author was trying to address in The Cutting Season that made the book fall flat in parts.

I also didn't like the main character, Caren Gray, as she made too many unwise choices throughout the novel, which I thought perplexing based on her education and life experiences. I guess I thought Caren would be a bit more savvy and thoughtful on how she handled things that occurred throughout the novel. Caren also had too many hangups that seemed to distance her from co-workers and family... It was as if she erected walls around herself. But I guess this could also make her seem more human/flawed. After all, who's perfect?

I'm planning to read Black Water Rising next and am hoping it is much better than The Cutting Season.

Below is the plot summary for The Cutting Season by Attica Locke from Goodreads:
The American South in the twenty-first century. A plantation owned for generations by a rich family. So much history. And a dead body.
Just after dawn, Caren walks the grounds of Belle Vie, the historic plantation house in Louisiana that she has managed for four years. Today she sees nothing unusual, apart from some ground that has been dug up by the fence bordering the sugar cane fields. Assuming an animal has been out after dark, she asks the gardener to tidy it up. Not long afterwards, he calls her to say it's something else. Something terrible. A dead body. At a distance, she missed her. The girl, the dirt and the blood. Now she has police on site, an investigation in progress, and a member of staff no one can track down. And Caren keeps uncovering things she will wish she didn't know. As she's drawn into the dead girl's story, she makes shattering discoveries about the future of Belle Vie, the secrets of its past, and sees, more clearly than ever, that Belle Vie, its beauty, is not to be trusted.
A magnificent, sweeping story of the south, The Cutting Season brings history face-to-face with modern America, where Obama is president, but some things will never change. Attica Locke once again provides an unblinking commentary on politics, race, the law, family and love, all within a thriller every bit as gripping and tragic as her first novel, Black Water Rising.
I am giving The Cutting Season by Attica Locke a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!


  1. I've never read anything by Attica Locke. Based on your review, I don't think this is one that I would want to spend time with.

    1. I say skip on this read. I liked it, but didn't love it.

  2. I started Black Water Rising once when it first came out and was put off by the writing so I never finished it or read any more. But she has so many devoted fans that I may try her again. That said, we can't all like everything that others like, right?

    1. I started and finished Black Water Rising.... I ended up listening to the unabridged audio version, which was a big mistake! Bad narration and cheesy music played between chapters... I almost quit listening to this novel several times due to audio production. Additionally, it was difficult getting into this novel's flow the 1st 10 chapters. Things started picking up after chapter 10 plot wise, so I became interested in what was going to happen next. I finished reading Black Water Rising and will write and post my review of it soon.