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Caren Gray faces down the ugly history of slavery daily-she manages the Belle Vie plantation for its owners, the Clancy family. For generations, her family worked for the Clancys, and she and her nine-year-old daughter found refuge here after Hurricane Katrina. Caren's routine of coordinating school tours, weddings, and banquets is interrupted by the grisly discovery of a migrant worker's body on the property. The police zero in on a suspect, but Caren is unconvinced they have their man. Her investigation unearths more than she bargained for-and she realizes how widespread the repercussions of slavery still ripple. VERDICT Locke's second novel (after 2009's Black Water Rising) is a layered, nuanced mystery with a social conscience. Weaving legal, social, historical, and economic elements into the story of a changing family, it's a good choice for readers who enjoy multifaceted mysteries with a strong female protagonist and that blur genre distinctions. [See Prepub Alert, 4/23/12; author Dennis Lehane picked this title as his first selection for his eponymous imprint at HarperCollins.-Ed.]-Amy -Brozio-Andrews, Albany P.L., NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Locke follows her debut, Black Water Rising, with a convoluted tale about the Louisiana antebellum plantation Belle Vie and two multigenerational families that have occupied it for more than a century. Caren Gray, whose great-great-great grandfather was a slave, manages the entire staff for Belle Vie, which caters weddings and parties and stages shows about plantation life in the old days. The Clancys trace their lineage back to William Tynan, who acquired the plantation after the Civil War. Patriarch Leland Clancy's wife restored the mansion now run by her son Raymond. The discovery of the body of a cane field worker from the adjacent farm on Belle Vie property triggers a chain of events that embroils Caren, her nine-year-old daughter, the Clancys, and others in an investigation that finds its antecedents in the two families' entwined histories. The murder and its solution take second place as Locke charts the South's troubled progress since slavery through a surfeit of subplots. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.