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The Fields

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Member Reviews

A brand new procedural series from debut author Erin Young. Riley Fisher was just promoted to the head of investigations in a small town in Iowa. Her first case that she is called to, surrounds a young woman found dead in a cornfield of a small farm.

As Sergeant Fisher investigates and the body is identified as a childhood friend, this case is closer to home than she would like. Additional bodies are found, and Riley is left to determine if they have a serial killer on their hands.

As Riley continues to work this case, she also is dealt a hard blow as an incident from her own past is coming to light and causes much pain for her. As the story continues this case becomes larger than she could ever imagine.

The story overall was ok, but I feel that Young was trying to capture some of the more recent female author’s notoriety of success in recent years. There was nothing that made this book sparkle and shine in this genre. If you are hardcore fan of this genre, than I think it is worth a try, but since this is not my favorite genre, I have to find a story that is absolutely compelling to have me buy into additional stories.

Thank you NetGalley and Flatiron Books for an Advanced Readers Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to Flat Iron Books and Erin Young for reaching out with The Fields and including me in your blog tour. This one hits shelves January 25!

I had a hard time getting into this one. It was very graphic out of nowhere and very political also. Both of these things just didn’t appeal to me. It annoyed me mostly and I just couldn’t get around that. I’ve read some other reviews of this one that were really good. If you’re into police procedurals with a hefty amount of information on agricultural giants then here’s your book, my friends.

The Fields is a procedural set in Iowa. This one centers around daily realities of rural life. Sergeant Riley Fisher is a detective with the Black Hawk County Police Department. She’s recently been promoted but is still hungry for respect from her male coworkers. When a body is found in the fields somehow Riley is connected along with some secrets she needs to stay buried.
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I could not stand to read this under-informed polemic about agriculture. Ms Young's knowledge of ag is minimal (even her vocabulary is wrong) and of ag politics beyond "big is bad" even less. Strip the text of this nonsense and you perhaps might have something interesting.
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What a great book one in what should shape up to be a great series! 
It opens with a dead body in a corn field, delves into some small town history, has great characters and plot lines .I read it fast and while it was a tad graphic, I still enjoyed it! 

Thankful for this ARC!
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Riley Fisher is the newly promoted sergeant at the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office in Iowa, when  a woman's body is found mutilated in the middle of a corn field. Riley realizes she recognizes the woman, and after the initial shock, begins to investigate the brutal murder. Soon, another woman's body is found, and a strange detail connects them. As the investigation grows, Riley begins to discover that the murders may be part of something larger going on within the agricultural community and the consequences could have some big repercussions. 

This is a police procedural. that didn't really feel like a typical police procedural, it felt personal and deeply dramatic, as there was a good mix of the police investigation and personal storylines going on in the book. Everything was well balanced and nothing was too overpowering or dry (sometimes straightforward procedurals can get too bogged down in details and become stuffy).

Riley is dealing with both the investigation and some things in her own life, which makes her a relatable character and someone who isn't some Mary Jane, unreachable character. She males some progress in working out some issues in this book and this appears to be the start of a series, so I'm really interested to see where she goes from here.  

The mystery itself is really intense. I don't want to give out any spoilers but it is very complicated  but it all comes together in the end perfectly like a puzzle that slowly reveals its picture. It really hits during the reveal and wow - I did not expect it when I started reading the book. I'm willing to bet not many people can guess what's coming either, lol.

I would definitely read more in this series and look forward to returning to Black Hawk County to see what Riley and the gang are up to!
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This book was an interesting procedural. I enjoyed figuring out the mystery, and that it was actually a pretty straightforward mystery. Young didn't try to layer a mystery in so many folds that you couldn't possibly figure out some of the things going on, but there was still a bit of the fantastical that lends itself to surprise. I also enjoyed that we were dealing with a sergeant and Young orchestrated her job and she wasn't just a regular detective. It made sense that she was overseeing but also managing her team. I wish we had seen more of that overall because it would have made her feel more capable. 

I also enjoyed that this was not such a small town to be contrived. It was a midwestern small city and that made sense. The character also made sense in the world. She was capable and didn't deteriorate fully during this ordeal, which was great to see. Also, she seemed to understand some of the complexities of farming life and small v. big farming. I enjoyed seeing a different group of people represented in a mystery. That doesn't often happen. 

But there were a few things that stopped me from absolutely loving this book as a procedural. One, it felt like Young was throwing all the things at this character. We are dealing with past trauma, me too, drug abuse and substance abuse in the family, and governmental conspiracies. It was just a lot to put into one book and felt like she lost me in a lot of places. I felt like this novel would have been more effective had she tried to make a well crafted novel in one or two of these lanes and it felt like a bit of a mess when looking at all the layered details. One of the primary antagonists was someone I was confused as to who he was at the end. Further, some of the big bads felt a bit contrived and silly overall. Last, I really felt some of the views were a bit conservative for the sake of "small town" thoughts when that wasn't well earned. The protagonist comes off as hypocritical and as a person who is being blamed as a victim in the same breath. I felt a bit confused as to the author's own intent with some of the beliefs the book espouses overall. This was fixed with some plot twists, but also it made me a bit disappointed overall. 

Thank you NetGalley and Flat Iron for an ARC for this honest review.
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These past five years or so, I've noticed this blend of crime thriller has become very prevalent in popular fiction. Though there are many options out there, that doesn't make these any less interesting. I'll have a full of review of this exciting new mystery posted to my website and normal purchase links in a few weeks.
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Erin Young writes one heck of a thriller in her new novel "The Fields". This is a debut thrills novel for this author who writes historical fiction under another name (Robin Young) and will be the start of a series of crime stories that surround the heroine, Sergeant Riley Fisher. The author masterfully explores the past of the police Sergeant while telling the story of several gruesome murders that have occurred, all seemingly related. Erin's efforts are assisted by her colleagues and one, Logan, proves to be a knowledgable and loyal sidekick. Her brother and niece provide family issues and complicate matters as the story unfolds. I was impressed with the story. It was one I could not put down and while it had many threads, parts, and pieces the writer was able to infuse all into a blockbuster ending. I will definitely be interested in reading more of the work of this talented author in two of my favorite genre's crime thriller and historical fiction. Both require a great deal of research to be satisfying to the reader and this author knows how to do that. Thanks to #NetGalley#ErinYoung for the opportunity to read and review this excellent new crime thriller.
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At 30% I'm throwing this on the DNF pile!!! There is so much I don't like about this book. I certainly wouldn't call it "beautifully written and masterfully crafted". By 30% I was just really annoyed with it and knew it wasn't a book for me.

I should have put the book aside from the start as I don't like books with graphic violence, but I pushed past it in the beginning in the hopes that it would not be repeated, but it definitely continued and with details that I didn't think were necessary to the plot at all.

I will admit that I didn't like the main character, Riley. She does a lot of really unprofessional and just dumb things. Going off on her own to do her investigating, etc. She didn't seem like a skilled enough "detective" for these major murder cases.

There is a large cast of characters and I had problems keeping track of who is who and how they fit into the plot. There are characters from the present and from the past, way too many for me to care about.

We keep getting little tidbits of information of something bad that happened to Riley in the past, but I never got to the point where I even knew what that was and why or how it fit into the story.

Basically this is a novel with an agenda. Big Agriculture against little farmers and all of the bad things that they do to drive out the little guys. While I'm sure a lot of this may be true, I didn't really want to read a book based on these political issues. I have no idea how much research the author did or if all of this is just fiction.

I guess I'm getting tired of books with political statements. It felt as though the author couldn't decide whether this was a thriller or if she wanted to make a statement about Big Agriculture??? I think she tried to do both and it didn't work for me.

At any rate there are other reviewers who loved it, so I'm in the minority. If you want to read it, go in blind and it may be a good fit for you.

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Note to publisher -- Since I did not finish this book I will not be publishing this review to any purchasing sites. Thank you
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Trigger Warnings: rape and sexual assault, alcohol, drug use, abuse, violence and gore (graphic), murder

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me an ARC!

I am very disturbed and I can’t tell if it’s in a good way.

First of all, this book is graphic. I probably should have seen that coming, considering that it’s a thriller and murder mystery, but the thrillers that I read are nothing like this. I was honestly unsettled by a lot of the book, especially once I got past the 40% mark.

The plot of this book followed Riley Fisher, head of investigations in a small police department in small-town Iowa, assigned to a murder case. However, the circumstances of the death were strange, not lining up with any normal causes, and the body discovered was her childhood best friend. Things unraveled with a string of a missing girl and more murders.

This was intense and very harsh. The realities it faced were aggressively realistic, to the point of very graphic, disgusting details and painful flashbacks through Riley’s perspective.

The plot just stuck with me so much - it was so aggressively painted, with so much detail and truth embedded throughout that I just couldn’t shake it. It was dark, cruel and realistic in a way that I don’t think I’ve seen in another book.

Her own past - dredged up with Chloe’s body - had become excruciatingly present. If she wasn’t able to solve this case, Riley feared she might never be able to push it all back down inside.

Riley was a very strong protagonist. Her perspective, actions and narration were so real and harsh and written so well that you could tell she was a well-developed person. I loved her mindset and strength and how her emotions were so clear and tangled in a very human way.

Logan was cool, I didn’t care about him that much but he was a good, strong character. He was written really well and I liked his mindset. I was drawn into how he worked so well with Riley.

Jackson Cole was an asshole and I despised him, but there was more to him than just being a straight-up dick, so I appreciate the characterization. I felt some sympathy for him and I won’t deny that he’s not evil, but I also really wanted him to get shot and killed.

Maddie was very realistic and I really appreciated a look into a teenage girl’s mind that wasn’t stereotypically what we call “high-school age narrative.” Maddie’s consciousness was treated differently, if that makes any sense. She felt so much more raw and unfiltered than most authors write high school girls.

The narration of the story flashed from character to character, from people in the background to our recurring mains, mostly Riley and Logan. There were a lot of different perspectives, but each one was incredibly unique.

One of my favorite parts about these characters was how they all felt so rough and authentic in such unsettling ways. They were crude, almost extreme to the point of exaggeration but in a way that perfectly fit with an everyday narrative. I’ve met my own share of Rileys and Jackson Coles and Maddies, and it scares me how they just blended into reality.

These women - Chloe, Nicole, Gracie - they were under her skin, occupying her waking thoughts and her dreams. They’d become part of her: their violent deaths and lost lives.

This book addressed the violence of this world in such an unflinching way. Almost immediately, with the gruesome deaths of several women, you could tell Erin Young wasn’t going to shy away from what really happens to 99% of missing girls.

I’m honestly kind of amazed at the issues this book addressed. It went into feminism and the opposite, the realities of all girls past the age of twelve. It went into environmental issues - a lot of environmental issues, actually. There was a lot of emphasis placed on farming and industry, but in a way that perfectly went with the setting of small-town Iowa.

It went into drugs and assault and trauma, and it didn’t back down. It was honestly terrifying. Riley’s flashbacks and the string of murders and the perspectives scattered through the story were horrifying - especially when you read a chapter that is so, so clearly written from the point of view of the killer, but in a way that makes you really see their side. This book truly, genuinely scared me, and while I didn’t particularly enjoy that experience, I will say that it was worth so much.

Where was the fork in her road? The divergence that had led her to this place of slaughter?

Honestly, this book was so much more than a detective murder thriller. There was way too much packed into this for it to just be a true crime read. The narrative was as compelling and fascinating as it was disgusting.

Overall, would I recommend this book? Absolutely, but only if you’ve got a strong stomach for some very gory details. This book was aggressive and unflinching, in a way that you can’t really enjoy.

I did love it, but not in the way I usually love books. More like I admire everything about it in the same way that I’m terrified of spiders and poisonous snakes - I appreciate their tenacity and the fear they inspire in me.

Aside from my very obvious terror, this book was really good in a literary sense too. The characters, setting and plot were all written well, and I actually really loved the writing. It was gritty and intense, but there were some lyrical flourishes along the way that stood out to me unexpectedly.

Basically, my advice is: if you want to be scared and tense for a full day or two, read this book. If you want something shocking and gruesome, read this book. If you want something true crime without the editing and airbrushing of a documentary, read this book.

If you like thrillers, maybe don’t. It depends.

That was the thing about monsters. Like the wolf in grandma’s clothing. Like the witch with her house of gingerbread. If you weren’t careful, you wouldn’t see them coming.

Objectively, it was good, but mentally, it scarred me. But also in a somewhat good way.
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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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