Cover Image: The Fields

The Fields

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

A pretty solid debut novel by Erin Young. 
It's probably not for everyone because it's grimmer than I thought it would be. It's pretty graphic so be careful of the trigger things before you pick this book up. 
Thanks Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for the ARC!
Was this review helpful?
Great thriller! Nicely paced with well rounded characters. Our heroine wasn’t my favorite; however as more of her backstory emerged, I realized where her fears started.

Overall solid police mystery! Thanks to NetGalley and publishers for the advanced readers copy in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The first in a planned series, Erin Young's crime-writing debut The Fields introduces readers to Sergeant Riley Fisher from Black Hawk County, Iowa: a place where the corn fields are knee high way before the Fourth of July, where family farms are barely managing to compete with Big Ag establishments. It is in one of these fields on one of these farms where a woman's mangled body is found, and when Riley arrives at the scene, she discovers that the victim is a childhood friend -- a woman irrevocably linked to Riley by a shocking event they experienced as teenagers. Before Riley can even begin to process this, another woman's body is discovered, and Riley finds herself enmeshed in an investigation with far-reaching implications.

The Fields is a gritty police procedural, and while that is not my favorite genre (I tend to lose interest in a book when the police become involved), something about this book appealed to me right away and kept me hooked throughout. Despite that fact that Riley is, in many ways, this genre's typical tortured detective, I still found her to be a compelling, thoughtfully-crafted character. I've never read a book quite like this, a crime thriller with environmental and political issues so central to the mystery. While agricultural espionage and corrupt politics are not two topics I am especially interested in, Young weaves them so successfully into the murder investigation aspect of the story that it all just worked for me. The plot of this book is incredibly complex, and I give Young credit for tying all of the threads of her plot together so well.

The Fields also has an incredibly strong sense of place and feels intensely atmospheric. Not just the fields of corn themselves (Stephen King already taught us how creepy corn can be), but the entire town of Cedar Falls comes vibrantly alive in Young's rich, descriptive writing. That descriptive writing also lends itself to graphic imagery of dead bodies, so potential readers should be aware of that.

Overall, The Fields really worked for me, and especially since the ending gave us a hint of where we're headed next, I'll definitely continue with the series.
Was this review helpful?
Sergeant Riley Fisher is the newly appointed head of the Field Investigations division of the sheriff's office in Black Hawk County. She is shocked and devastated to learn the identity of a murder victim discovered in a local corn field.  The victim is Chloe Miller, a childhood friend which stirs both good and bad memories in Riley.  Chloe's family is part of the area's notorious Zephyr cooperative.

Riley and the small town sheriff's office are out of their league as this murder investigation quickly becomes complicated and intertwined with area corporations and their dominance over small town family farmers. Riley's intentions are good, and she leads the investigation to the best of her ability and experience. Her own personal issues threaten to spill over into the investigation giving the story an air of authenticity. The setting takes over as a character on its own as it plays critically into the plot line.  Much of the focus is on agricultural issues and the takeover of family farms that have been passed down over the ages.  For the most part, I feel the author does a good job with content and setting although at times it feels a bit overwhelming.

The Fields is a great debut from an obviously talented new author.  I enjoyed the way she controls the flow of this story as it plays out and look forward to reading more.  Recommended to fans of mystery and suspense.
Was this review helpful?
I received a copy of this from NetGalley in return for an honest review. 

I hate to say it but I DNF'd this at about 40%. It was sold as similar to Karin Slaughter but to me it felt like it was trying to be just like it rather than it's own thing. I don't have an issue with the graphic depictions and violence. My qualm is that it felt like it was trying to pack in every trigger warning possible for shock value. The plot dragged a bit and at times it felt really fast paced but then it slowed waaaay down. To me it was just the inconsistencies that made me put it down. Perhaps I'll pick it up to finish it in the future but for now I'm taking a break.
Was this review helpful?
This book was right up my alley, crime and procedural.  It was graphic, perhaps a bit too much so for some people, but I did enjoy it and thought it brought a lot to the book.  

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this copy.
Was this review helpful?
So I read this while I was in Iowa visiting my in laws and Erin Young had no right to take a hold of my brain like that while I was in an area VERY similar to what was described in the book. It was delicious and terrifying. I loved it!
Was this review helpful?
This book was great lots of twists and turns read in 24 hours! I will definitely be picking this author up again.
Was this review helpful?
DNF @ 25%

I have been trying to push through this one for about a week now, and I think it's me and not the book. Clearly the author is talented, but I'm lost amongst a plethora of characters who don't seem to play a major role in the book, alongside the politics of Iowa farming and agriculture. Definitely give this one a try if you like gory police procedurals!
Was this review helpful?
New Breakout Series!! 4-4.5 stars

Sergeant Riley Fisher has been put lead on a case involving a victim that she was previously connected too, however it doesn’t stop there. More victims show up and it appears they are dealing with a cannibal serial killer. There is so many details on this book and I can understand why it has been called a mashup of The Pelican Brief and Silence of the Lambs. 

If you are looking for an intriguing, make you think, mystery/thriller involving cannibalism with a potential twist on how this could possibly involve a Governor…this is for you!! 

I am definitely looking forward to seeing where Riley goes in the future.

Thank you Flatiron books and NetGalley for my gifted copy.
Was this review helpful?
It starts with a body—a young woman found dead in an Iowa cornfield, on one of the few family farms still managing to compete with the giants of Big Agriculture.

When Sergeant Riley Fisher, newly promoted to head of investigations for the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office, arrives on the scene, an already horrific crime becomes personal when she discovers the victim was a childhood friend, connected to a dark past she thought she’d left behind. I really liked her sometimes cop partner, Logan and I very much enjoyed the parts where Riley and Logan were working together on the case. They worked like a well-oiled machine, rather than two people who had just started working together.

The investigation grows complicated as more victims are found. Drawn deeper in, Riley soon discovers implications far beyond her Midwest town.

I have to admit, The Fields was not a top read for me. The books features a storyline of corruption within the agricultural industry and murder. The novel is somewhat graphic and there are a lot of characters to keep track of. Overall, the ending is not predictable and is worth a read by anyone looking for a police procedural-style book.
Was this review helpful?

It all begins with a body in a corn field...

Before we get started, can I just say that I find corn fields to be terrifying. There's just something about them. I can't. Who knows what is lurking in there. Seeing one mentioned in the synopsis for The Fields, I knew that I wanted to read this debut Crime Thriller.

Sergeant Riley Fisher, the head of investigations for Black Hawk County Sheriff's office is shocked, upon arriving on scene, when she discovers she knows the victim. Even though Riley and Chloe went their separate ways in their teen years, Riley is still rattled to the core by her estranged friend's tragic death.

The corn field is owned by a local co-op, Zephyr Farms, one of the very few to survive the crushing presence of Big Agriculture. Does Chloe have a connection to this place? How did she end up here and who would have wanted to harm her?

Riley dives deep into this investigation. After all, it's personal and soon finds herself in a dangerous world of politics and very big business. Not a comfortable place to be by any means. As more bodies start dropping, the pressure increases, with Riley pushing herself to her limits in order to get to the bottom of these cases before more innocent lives are loss.

While parts of this intrigued me, mostly the murdery bits, I felt like the structure of the story lost me at times. There were certain aspects, or sections, ((I'm not quite sure how to best explain what I mean)) that felt out of place and it would kick me out of the story. Along a similar vein, for me the pace was off, with my interest coming and going in waves. There was a solid mystery here, but at times it felt overshadowed by other things; namely politics, which personally, I could have done without.

With all of this being said, please don't take this the wrong way. I did enjoy this book. I see a lot of promise in Young's writing and would pick up the next book in the Riley Fisher series. This is a good start to series. I liked Riley a lot and look forward to learning more about her in the next installment. 

She has a dark cloud hanging over her, a bit of a secret history, and I really want to know what that's all about. I'm hoping in the next book she'll spill it. So yeah, this wasn't a perfect read for me, or the most memorable, but I did enjoy it enough to continue on with the series. I'm actually looking forward to it.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Flatiron Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate it!!
Was this review helpful?
I’m a sucker for dark procedurals with a female protagonist—especially if they have a personal connection to the crime. From reading the description, I knew THE FIELDS would check a lot of my boxes. I am happy to say that I was correct and that I really enjoyed Erin Young’s debut thriller.

As many reviewers have pointed out, Young’s prose is gorgeous. I also loved the fact that the book was as much about unpacking Riley’s own psyche and past mistakes as it was the present day crime. And though I know some people have complained about there being too much detail about the agriculture business, I loved the insider knowledge that the book offered. I felt like I was getting a nuanced peek into a world I didn’t know much about. 

Thanks to NetGalley for an ebook copy. I will definitely be checking out whatever Erin Young writes next!
Was this review helpful?
Quick checklist to determine if Erin Young’s debut crime thriller, The Fields, is the right book for you:

- Do you live in Iowa?

- Can you stomach extremely graphic depictions of postmortem bodies, like those found in Karin Slaughter novels… but taken up a notch?

- Are you interested in the political debate about Big Agriculture and GMOs?

If you answered yes to all three of these questions, then oh boy this is your holy grail piece of fiction right here! Bodies are turning up in cornfields and barns and such, decomposing and full of maggots, and the motivation behind the killer might just be related to agricultural espionage.

Now listen, I’m from Iowa. Author Erin Young is not. She sure took notes while visiting the state though and packed her novel with alllll the Iowa things: State Fair butter cow, Maid Rite, Hawkeye sweatshirts, and lest we forget… FARMS! Yes, we do in fact grow stuff here. And yes, there are little farms and big farms, and GMO companies have a very big presence. As referenced in the book, other countries like China have indeed been caught trying to steal seeds from our soil and replicate them. Gotta feed the world, amiright!

If that last paragraph bored you, The Fields is probably too immersed in the world of agricultural politics to hold your interest. But if you’re like, heck yes, I want to dig into that and see characters take it to such extremes that people are being mutilated as a result, get yourself to a bookstore and buy it! Then preorder the follow up, since this is part one of a series featuring Sergeant Riley Fisher.

3.5 stars

My thanks to Flatiron Books for the gifted review copy via NetGalley and the invitation to participate in the blog tour for this release. The Fields is now available.
Was this review helpful?
I wanted so badly to like this one. I love police procedurals, especially with female leads, AND this is set in the midwest, so it felt a little bit like home to me. However, it was so slow and so hard to read. I didn't feel like I cared much about the characters and I just felt confused more often than not. Thank you to Flatiron for the advanced copy!
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Flatiron books for the early ARC of this one. It started off a  little slow then once I got into it it flew through. I enjoyed the story line of this one. If you have a week stomach I do not recommend reading this one. It can be a little bit to much in the description of the bodies. I myself loved it but for people who do not like that they will not like this book. 
This was my first 5 star Crime fiction of the year.
Was this review helpful?
Sent to me by Netgalley for review…this book is a dark mystery with much intrigue…the story moves slowly but comes to a satisfying conclusion, although not easily discerned…
Was this review helpful?
This book is a procedural crime drama.  When a body is found in the corn fields of Iowa, what’s at stake?  Is there a serial killer on the loose or is there a political conspiracy? The book is paced well, with the stories and the development of character moving forward while keeping you interested. You are often left guessing as to what is going on and who’s responsible for all the deaths.  If you liked Long Bright River or you like crime drama, this book may be right up your alley.  I’m not the biggest fan of this genre but I found myself intrigued and curious and that’s important when you are reading a book.
Was this review helpful?
I have two admit, The Fields was not a top read for me. The books features a storyline of corruption within the agricultural industry and murder. The novel is somewhat graphic and there are a lot of characters to keep track of. Overall, the ending is not predictable and is worth a read by anyone looking for a police procedural-style book.
Was this review helpful?
Riley Fisher is a police-protégé. Following in her grandfather's footsteps, Riley was recently promoted to the Head of Investigations for the Black Hawk County Sherriff's Office. While her county of Iowa is typically sleepy, Riley is called to a crime scene one morning that is anything but. Arriving at a local farm, Riley is informed that there's been a brutal murder in the farm's sprawling field, and the victim is Riley's childhood friend. Riley is determined to stay objective and prove to her superiors that she was the right choice for Sergeant, but she quickly realizes this case is more complicated than it appears and her own past starts to creep in to the investigation. And just as Riley begins to explore leads, more victims are found. And just as more victims are found, larger forces come into play - including a competitive Gubernatorial election and big agricultural giant, Agri-Co. When all the pieces of the puzzle start to come together, Riley realizes that she might become the next victim if she doesn't solve this case quickly.

When I first read The Fields description, I was pumped because it's advertised as procedural series starring a badass woman fighting the system and solving crime. I went into this book thinking it could be my next favorite procedural series as I am the biggest Morgan Dane fan ever, but The Fields did not live up to my expectations. To begin, The Fields was long. Basically there are three major things happening in this book: finding a cannibalistic murderer; a heated election surrounding environmental policy (and secret deals with China??); and the influence of Agri-Co's power on small Iowa farmers. Needless to say, that is a lot of ground to cover in one book that's advertised as a simple thriller. In the author's effort to bring some extra drama to a standard murder-procedure plot, Riley's story became drowned in sub-plots and sub-characters that really didn't add much to the plot for me as a reader. By the end of the book, I did not feel any connection to Riley as a character nor was I excited to see what she will do next, which is not how a reader should feel after reading the first book of a series. I can't say the writing was bad, the book just dragged on so much that I was bored while reading it and, in the end, I didn't even care who the cannibalistic murderer was! All this to say, I don't recommend reading The Fields.


Thank you, Flatiron Books, for an advanced copy of The Fields in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?