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Extended Audio Sample The Cutting Season: A Novel, by Attica Locke Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,271 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Attica Locke Narrator: Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Quincy Tyler Bernstine Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In Black Water Rising, Attica Locke delivered one of the most stunning and sure-handed fiction debuts in recent memory, garnering effusive critical praise, several award nominations, and passionate reader response. Now Locke returns with The Cutting Season, a riveting thriller that intertwines two murders separated across more than a century.

Caren Gray manages Belle Vie, a sprawling antebellum plantation that sits between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, 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 reenactments and carefully restored slave quarters. Outside the gates, a corporation with ambitious plans has been busy snapping up land from struggling families who have been growing sugar cane for generations and now replacing local employees with illegal laborers. 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 cleanly.

As the investigation gets under way, the list of suspects grows. But when fresh evidence comes to light and the sheriff’s department zeros in on a person of interest, Caren has a bad feeling that the police are chasing the wrong leads. Putting herself at risk, she ventures into dangerous territory as she unearths startling new facts about a very old mystery—the long-ago disappearance of a former slave—that has unsettling ties to the current murder. In pursuit of the truth about Belle Vie’s history and her own, Caren discovers secrets about both cases—ones that an increasingly desperate killer will stop at nothing to keep buried.

Taut, hauntingly resonant, and beautifully written, The Cutting Season is at once a thoughtful meditation on how America reckons its past with its future and a high-octane page-turner that unfolds with tremendous skill and vision. With her rare gift for depicting human nature in all its complexities, Attica Locke demonstrates once again that she is “destined for literary stardom” (Dallas Morning News).

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Quotes & Awards

  • The Cutting Season is a rare murder mystery with heft, a historical that thrills, a page-turner that makes you think. Attica is a dazzling writer with a conscience.”

    Dolan Perkins-Valdez, New York Times bestselling author

  • “A resonant story about a seemingly modern woman who is forced to come to terms with the long-buried past…A leisurely and luxuriantly Southern book that is rich with detail.”

    New York Times

  • “A novel rich in atmosphere, strong in story, but at its heart The Cutting Season hinges on human complexity. The tangled rope of some kind of history has a stranglehold on everyone at the heart of this book, and their relationships give it a texture that reminds us why we come to fiction rather than the historical account…It illuminates our present in the light of our past and explains us to ourselves.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Beautiful but dangerous…Locke’s insistence on grounding her story in a deeper history pays off because it invests the book with gravitas, a sense of place and consequence, that feels profound and real.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Stunning…Soaked in atmosphere, in the wet, drunk air of the south where ‘the cane, like cut grass and sweet milk, damp and terrestrial’ pervades everything, the past lies in layers upon layers in this story.”

    Observer (London)

  • “A nuanced look at the South’s tragic past and one strong woman’s stand against ingrained cultural and economic oppression.”


  • “Locke’s second novel is written with fluidity and elegance, evoking the uniqueness of her setting and the nuances in the relationships of her characters, complicated by race, class, and history.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “William Faulkner said, ‘The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” This adage comes alive as the outstanding reading of this literary mystery brings to life the ironies, complexities, and parallels between the Antebellum past and current times…Quincy Tyler Bernstine’s accomplished stage presence lets listeners feel the protagonist’s fear as she approaches the restored slave quarters her ancestors inhabited, the love in her voice as she talks to her daughter, and the condescension in the voice of the plantation owner as he addresses her. The strong narration and breadth of the story combine for unique glimpses into the depth of the human condition.”


  • Winner of the 2013 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Connie | 2/18/2014

    " Unique way of reminding the reader of what plantation life was like, added to a good mystery, with complicated relationships! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by EMP | 2/4/2014

    " I listened to this book and thought Quincy Tyler Bernstine (female) did a nice job. There seem to be quite a few people on this site who thought the pace of the book was too slow. While the plot centers around a murder, it's not one of those action packed, bad ass main character books. I found it to be a solid story and well told, but not one of those books that I can't wait to recommend to a friend. So maybe this is more of a 2.5 star rating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Linda Smith | 2/3/2014

    " Listened to this audio book and I loved it. The reader had the Louisana drawl down perfectly. I think I would have liked it just as well if I had read it. Authentic characters, believable heroine, suspenseful story line. Read it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Iris | 1/30/2014

    " Interesting book, a little slow at times. A surprise in the end. "

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