Friday, August 9, 2013

The Cutting Season

Set in the parishes between New Orleans and Baton Rogue, The Cutting Season is a fast paced thriller. Caren Gray is a former law student who is the manager of Belle Vie, a restored plantation. Thinking herself somewhat underemployed, Caren left law school when she ran out of money. With a young child to support she took whatever job she could and as a result is now the manager of the plantation. The plantation where her ancestors were the slaves.

The land is owned by the Clancy family and has been since the reconstruction. Leland (the father) is near death, Bobby is the son who has myriad personal issues and a drinking problem and Raymond is in charge and wants to run for public office (nd he needs money and a clean reputation to do so). Caren's mother was the cook for the Clancy family and Caren grew up on the plantation playing with Bobby.

One morning as Caren is making her rounds she has some strange feelings, like the area is haunted. Returning to her office, she receives a phone call from the groundskeeper - there has been a body found near one of the far fences. Just outside this fence line is a sugar cane field owned by a large corporation. This corporation wants to buy the plantation. The dead woman was a migrant worker employed by the sugar cane company. The police arrive and seem strangely unconcerned.

The story line revolves around the murder, but the side stories are what makes the book so interesting. Will Raymond run for public office, is the plantation really being sold, what happened to Jason, Caren's ancestor? Caren's back story (her child, her ancestry, her jobs, her  ex-lover) is the real story here. While the murder solution gradually unfolds so does Caren's life story and it's effects on the current situation. 

Not only a mystery, this book deals with how people come to terms with their pasts.

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