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The Fields

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Member Reviews

Erin Young unleashes a twisted mystery filled with suspense and shocks in her brilliant debut novel, The Fields. The towns of Waterloo and Cedar Falls, Iowa, offer fresh settings in the detective genre, making use of the agriculture predominant in this rural area as a character of its own. 

Riley Fisher grew up surrounded by the corn farms in Black Hawk County and now is the recently promoted Sergeant of the Sherriff’s Office. As head of investigations for the field services division, she is called to a giant corn farm where the body of a local woman has been found. The shocking state of her body, a jagged wound in her neck, broken fingers, and scratch marks is secondary to the surprise Riley encounters when she realizes the identity of the woman, Chloe Clark. Chloe was one of Riley’s two best friends in high school that she had been estranged from after a traumatizing event her senior year that still haunts Riley to this day. 

The farmland owner who found Chloe’s body wants nothing more than for this incident to be kept quiet. His crops are in the upcoming competition for best corn in the state, in which a victory would bring him a healthy grant. News of a corpse found in his fields would not bode well. This aspect of the story is fascinating, even more so when the state’s politics and a potential deal with China to export corn spring up. 

When a second body is discovered in a broken-down factory in such horrific and gruesome condition that it makes Chloe’s murder look pristine, the book orbits into a web of mystery with as many left turns and surprises that I’ve come across in a long time. Politics, agriculture, cyber threats, pharmaceutical drugs, and an unseen sadistic killer pepper this story with fascination and intrigue. There are many characters and sub-plots, but not too much to be confusing or cluttered. They all serve a purpose to the overall story. 

Riley Fisher is a richly drawn character with great psychological depth. She has a complicated family history, past and present. Riley lives in her family home with her depressed and divorced brother, who does little upkeep and can’t seem to stay out of trouble. She has deep emotional scars from her parents, who have passed away. Riley deals with disgruntled and sexist officers who feel her promotion was nothing more than checking a box. Her one steadying force comes in the form of Logan Wood, her new partner helping to solve the murders. Logan recently moved to Black Hawk County with his father, sister, niece, and nephew from Flint, Michigan, after led water contamination forced him, and many others, out of the area. 

I find Erin Young’s choice to not force a romantic element to Riley and Logan’s relationship refreshing. It’s not to say a romance couldn’t brew later in the planned series, but it would have felt trite and cliché at this stage in their partnership. It’s clear that Young did an immense amount of research about rural Iowa, agriculture, politics, and policing. She establishes a genuine feel for small-town life, the division of class, and the importance of farming. I was convinced that Young must have grown up in Iowa, but low and behold; she resides in England. Be sure to read the Acknowledgments, where she relays her trip to Iowa and all the research she did. 

The Fields is one of the very best debut novels I have ever read. Young has a true talent for beautifully written and vivid descriptions without ever bogging down the flow of the story. She displays a gift for weaving a tangled mystery while also giving ample weight to the characters and their relationships. I will eagerly be awaiting the second book in this series.
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What could be more all-American than a small town amid rolling fields of corn? But when a woman’s body is found in those same fields, the dark truth beneath that wholesome image begins to emerge.

Riley Fisher is a sergeant for the Black Hawk County Sherriff’s Office, and when a Chloe Miller’s body is found in the cornfields just outside the small town of Cedar Falls, she naturally believes it to be a standard murder investigation. When a second body is discovered, and she can’t quite make all the pieces of the puzzle fit naturally together, her instincts begin to warn her that she’s stumbled into something much more complicated than it first seemed.

 The Fields is the debut thriller from Erin Young, and what a great start! Riley’s an excellent lead character for a story; smart and persistent, and clearly a dependable presence in the lives of her loved ones – I was on her side right from the start. Her own past is one of unexpected trauma and pain, but it’s clear she’s made her way successfully back from those events to now safeguard not just herself, but those in her county. The way that past was revealed, in step with the novel’s central mystery as it started to grow, worked really well for me as I read it – the past and present storylines fed into each other and bumped the tension up nicely.

 That central mystery, too, is a perfect example of delayed gratification, with a journey just as enjoyable as the destination reveals of the ending. I still wanted to know what happened – had to know what happened! – but I couldn’t bring myself to rush through the book and miss anything happening along the way. There’s a lot going on here, and as the story moved from potential serial-killer investigation to high stakes political intrigue, I was glad to have held back. The Fields is an impressive debut from a writer I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on.
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The fields is a crime thriller that follows lead detective Riley Fisher trying to piece together the murders of women in her hometown; some that are eerily close to her own life, however, the deeper she goes into her investigation the more she realizes that her path is leading her into deeper waters and implicating more people than she ever thought. This novel was very well written and had a nice beat and pace to it making it both a fast and enjoyable read with lots of fun and juicy plot twists. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys crime thrillers and murder mysteries. Though this is Erin Young's debut novel I cannot wait to see what other work she might put out in the future as this book is one hell of a start to a bright career.
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Sergeant Riley Fisher stares down at the body of a young woman lying in a cornfield.  There is blood everywhere.  The body is marked by many horrific gashes.  When the woman is rolled over, Riley is shocked to realize she knows this woman.  The victim is one of her childhood friends.  Someone she lost tough with long ago.  Riley feels pressure from all sides.  She is newly promoted and her captain is unsure she can handle an investigation this big.  She is also feeling pressured by her fellow officers, all male, who feel she was promoted for diversity reasons.  Thank goodness she can count on her partner, Logan, who is more evolved than the other Neanderthals on the force.  Another body is found.  The attack on her even more vicious.  It really gets weird when the coroner tells her she has found a human tooth in the second victim's leg.  Then a third victim is found with flesh excised from her body as well as the other mutilations.  Trying to connect the disparate pieces of this puzzle frustrates Riley.  The picture that is forming in Riley's mind is much bigger than she thought involving political, agricultural, and social factions.
If you read Phillip Margolin and Alafair Burke, you will enjoy this book. 

Robyn Heil,  Brodart Co. Buyer
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This was a solid start to a new series. It was creepy and atmospheric. I liked Riley and her team and look forward to reading more about them. 

In the end, I feel like Young tried to make it a bit too complicated. There were a lot of threads running through this murder investigation. They were all tied up at the end but I felt like there was just too many irons in the fire.
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Flatiron Books,
Thank You for this eARC!

The Fields
by Erin Young
Book one in the Riley Fisher Series

Mini Review,
I loved this procedural thriller that is unputdownable from start to finish.
The Fields is a fast paced and compelling thriller. 
I loved character Sargent Riley Fisher.... I love her will, she is determined and smart!
All the characters were all well-developed, believable and prodigious.
What I loved and enjoyed most is that this book will grab you from the beginning and not let go! 
The flow of the story was continuous and I truly did not want to put this down as it was an addicting read.
Engrossed, captivating, and very highly recommended, intense psychological thriller,
You will want to soak in everything until the very last page. 
Erin has wrote a smashing debut and I can't wait for book two! 
5 Amazing Stars for this outstanding unstoppable read! 

I can't thank everyone enough who provided me with this ebook! 😘
I'll post to my Social media platforms closer to pub date!
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The debut crime novel The Fields by Erin Young (who also writes historical fiction as Robyn Young) is a complex web of conspiracy, politics, and Big Agriculture. 

Sergeant Riley Fisher, newly promoted to the head of the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Department of Investigation in rural Iowa, heads to the scene of a gruesome murder. The victim turns out to be an old friend she grew up with and then grew apart from after a traumatic event that has haunted and nearly destroyed Riley's life. 

Bodies turn up with odd connections, including bite marks marring the flesh of women from varying castes and a drug used by addicts to help overcome their cravings. There's this fantastic subplot about political espionage in the form of big agriculture taking over all the small, family farms and a peculiar illness caused by a lack of niacin. 

Young slowly reveals facts both past and present, culminating in a reveal and a hopeful ending. There is something truly unique about the way this novel progressed- and the subjects addressed within- that elevated it above the crime/mystery genre. 

I especially appreciated the camaraderie of Riley and her partner, Logan Wood. They balanced each other out, and he was a reliable and steady resource who was on her side throughout. The mystery was so deep and twisted, and Young excelled at adding each new twist at the perfect time that I honestly had no idea where the ending was going to take us. 

The Fields is a solid start to a planned series. It's great for any crime fan or those who appreciate a flawed but resilient female detective lead.
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Thank you to Netgalley & Flatiron books for this gifted ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I’m usually pretty interested in police procedurals and was excited to read this one. But for me, there wasn’t enough shock factor. It beginning started off very slow, picking up somewhere in the middle. The last about 25% was the most exciting & gripping. I would call this more of a agricultural thriller than anything else. I enjoyed the alternating POV, however, it took a little while to understand who’s point of view it was. 

3 ⭐️s
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Dark, gripping and totally addictive!  This is a engaging thriller that I recommend - you don't want to miss this one.
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If you’re a fan of thriller/procedurals where a far-reaching murder investigation is led by a 30-something female detective (however unlikely this arrangement is in our painfully deficient America), you will almost certainly be enraptured by Erin Young’s The Fields.

The story unfolds at an arguably heady pace as corpses pop up throughout the rural Iowa landscape of cornfields and derelict factories. (The pace is marred early on as the author’s apparent compulsion to demonstrate her writerly stylistic bona fides, which are indeed impressive, judders up like a bloated corpse to distract from the narrative rhythm. Luckily, Young suppresses this urge before it becomes too oppressive to stand.)

The heroine, a rural Everywoman, familiarly alienated, is built to appeal to the broadest market segment in American popular fiction. Sergeant Riley Fisher (“Sarge”), granddaughter of the retired county Sheriff, himself tottering at the precipice of Alzheimer’s, is the hot-shot investigator. Riley has emerged from a troubled, runaway adolescence into a ramrod-straight adulthood marred only by the rare lapse into tipsy candor. Riley has enough personal and familial flaws to appeal to any avid thriller reader today, including a rival deputy, an irresponsible brother and a wayward niece whose adolescent foibles rival those of the teenaged Riley, gone but not forgotten.

All this is not to disparage a novel clearly built to succeed, and an emerging author of the highest skill. The story moves rapidly through the first half of the book, although the story often seems a bit cluttered with innumerable WASP-named characters, a confusion that caused this reader to pause from time to time to relink everyone to the plot. 

As things rush along, Riley’s seeming mistakes prove to be invaluable insights exposing not just a murderous drug ring but also an international agro-tech conspiracy threatening the health of the nation. Take note, Baldacci, Riley Fisher has arrived.
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Lose Yourself in the Corn Maze!

A fast-paced police procedural, "The Fields" grabbed me from the first page. I enjoyed the story line, the well-developed characters, and the convoluted plot, which was nicely tied up in the book's final pages. While many of today's hot-button issues are woven into the plot, including big agriculture, politics, global warming, and the Me Too movement, the author doesn't let her opinions bog the story down; she is able to educate without being preachy. Well-read readers will find a couple of stereotypes, however, the book still has broad appeal.  

I don't want to give away too much (by comparing it to another well-known book) but readers who are turned-off by gore may want to choose another book. As for me, I  found the last 25% or so of the book to be really exciting! Sign me up for the next one in the series!
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In an agricultural town in Iowa, police officer Riley Fisher, who was recently promoted to Sergeant, finds herself reunited with a childhood friend. Unfortunately, this reunion consists of Riley standing over her her old friend's body, recently found in the cornfield of a local farmer. As Riley faces the demons of her past and leads the murder investigation, it becomes clear that this case is a lot bigger and more complicated than anyone could have imagined. 

If I had to describe this book, the term that comes to mind is 'agricultural thriller'. I don't know if that is even a genre, but it's certainly fitting for this story. I won't go into too many details as to avoid spoilers, but I will say that things like Big Ag, politics, and farming are all involved to varying extents. This was interesting because I haven't really read anything with these elements, and I think that ultimately the plot and mystery were well-rounded and very creative. 

However, I had a couple of issues with this one: firstly, the switching of POVs that occasionally happened wasn't done all that smoothly, and I'd often be confused as to which character's narrative I was reading. Secondly, while I understand that often there are multiple storylines that eventually all come together as the answer to the central mystery, I struggled sometimes at keeping the storylines straight. Overall, though, I think all the storylines worked, they just could've been introduced in clearer ways. Finally, I think some things could've unfolded quicker and helped the story's pace.

All in all, I liked this book and I'm glad I read it. Though it is not a standout procedural for me, I would definitely continue on reading a Riley Fisher detective series, because I strongly suspect Young's work will only get better from here! If you like slower crime procedurals and shows like Criminal Minds, I think you'll enjoy this.

Thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for a chance to read this in exchange for a review. The Fields releases on 01/25/22!
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I never thought that I'd be reading an agricultural thriller, but here we are! And these corn fields hold a loooot of secrets. We get a lot of different storylines in this book - varying from processing the trauma of a sexual assault to investigating the pharmaceutical drug trade to political espionage. At times I had some issues keeping all of the storylines straight, but I did feel like everything worked in the book. Some of the dialogue was a little clunky at times and the first 20% of the book was pretty slow for thriller standards. If you're a fan of Criminal Minds, you'll love the procedural elements of this book.

*Thank you to Flatiron Books and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review*
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I unfortunately could not finish this book. It was dull and repetitive. There was not much here for me to go on since it was so repetitive.
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Thank you to the publisher for the advanced copy.

This is definitely not my kind of thriller/mystery. 

That being said, I enjoyed the writing of the author besides the 3rd person narration style. 

It was creepy enough to keep me interested until probably the first big reveal and when that happened I started to understand where the story was going and I knew I wasn't going to like the rest of the reveals and nope I didn't.  

Also, I got very confused when the chapters started switching to other character pov because the 3rd person didn't allow for a different sense of voice? If that makes sense outside of my head. 

If you are a fan of Criminal Minds but also a fan of M. Night movies this might be your thing.
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Beautifully paced, The Fields by Erin Young starts with a bang on page one and does not let go until the very end. I was captivated by the open skies and forlorn feeling of the midwest that was captured so excellently in this book. An essential book for spooky season.
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Sargent Riley must prove to everyone that she is worthy of her rank. People think that her promotion was given to her on a silver platter because of her grandfather’s ties to the force, she's a woman, and both of her parents were killed in a terrible car accident.  She deserved Sargent, because like everyone else, she fought to get it.  

Then her rank is truly tested, a body is found in a field of corn, not just any body but one of Riley's closest friends from school.  Riley hasn't seen Chloe in years, but after seeing Chloe's body, she realizes that she has some skeletons in her closet that she hasn't dealt with.  While Riley starts dealing with these emotions that come flooding back, another body shows up...then another of a girl who has been missing for weeks.  They all have something in common, they are savage attacks, and they might even have bite marks on them.  Are they dealing with a serial killer or is something else going on in this small Iowa town?

A book that keeps you guessing until the end.
I don't know if I will ever look at a cornfield the same way after reading this book...
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I really don't have much opinion about this book. It was kind of dull and repetitive to me. It did not keep my attention whatsoever. I would not recommend, sorry.
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Okay, I am having a hard time rating this one, because there is politics involved and I hate politics, but I admit the writing was good and I was able to finish.  I prefer my stories stay away from political things, even if it is centered around murder and just aspects of politics, which I felt this book was definitely guilty of, but with all that said I was able to read the entire book without too much complaints.  The reason I believe is the writing was too notch, with amazing character development!  It was written in a fast paced, tense, unputdownable manner, so even though I hated the subject I had to rate it highly.  I would highly recommend to those who don’t mind politics within their thrills!  

Will make sure to buzz around and use top Amazon reviewer number on release!
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The Fields is a compelling story of small town farmers being pushed out by big agriculture companies.  When a woman is found murdered in a corn field Riley Fisher is called to the scene.  She is surprised to see that the victim is her friend from her childhood.  The investigation gets more intense when more bodies are found.  Soon Riley finds herself in a storm where politics, big agriculture and shady operations collide. I was surprised by the climax of the book.  The book also makes the reader care about the plight of small farms trying to compete against big companies.  I enjoyed the book and read a potential second book in the series.
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