Cover Image: The Fields

The Fields

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

When science and murder play tag, you never win.

This novel started out with lots of creepy action, a scared for her life young woman, running through a dark cornfield from something or someone while losing blood and fading quickly.

Skip forward to Sergeant Riley Fisher, a newly promoted investigator eager to prove her ability to both herself and her fellow co-workers. She is summoned to the crime scene of our dearly departed, previously mentioned, scared girl.

The killings keep coming and the author spared no detail in describing and setting both the scene and the gruesome state of the bodies. I felt like I was watching an intense thriller that kept me leaning forward in anticipation.

There were times that the story seemed to bog down with too many character perspectives but I could easily see why in most cases and picturing them as scenes in a movie helped me move past this.

It was all made up for in the end. One that I simply did not see coming. I was hoping it wasn't going to flop with a simple murderer reveal but the parallel running subplots kept me thinking there had to be something more and boy, oh boy, was there something more!

I thoroughly enjoyed how this novel subtly set itself up as the first in a series and I am truly looking forward to reading more about Riley Fisher's career.

My sincere thanks to NetGalley, Erin Young and the publisher for a fine novel.

Was this review helpful?

I am taken aback and in disbelief that this is a debut novel. Erin Young, is someone to keep your eye on. This novel had all key components to a best seller.

The Fields was a book that once you start, you cant it put down. Each turn of the page was addicting. I had to know what was going on!!! Filled with a ton of twists, Young, kept me on my toes and in suspense. This novel is a true nail biter.

This is a procedural novel that takes place in the midwest, initially it starts with one woman found dead in the fields. Of course this is alarming but when more bodies start to turn up, Riley, our lead detective, believes she has a serial killer on her hands.

Pick up your copy on January 25, 2022 to find out what happens!

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed the first half of The Fields by Erin Young more than the second, but overall a nice middle-ground read.

Was this review helpful?

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to review. Unfortunately this book did not connect with me.

Premise started off really good. Sgt Riley of the Sheriff's Department is called to a murder scene in a cornfield, only to find its her childhood friend Chloe Miller. Sounds good so far. But then, we get into kidnapping murder,abuse to women, government spying, drugs, and agricultural tampering. Book was well written but I really did not know what I was reading. Story went off in too many directions. Too many characters too focus on.. Can't recommend.

Was this review helpful?

I never think of Iowa as a setting for a crime story so that was the first interesting introduction to  this book.

   The main character, a newly appointed female police sergeant , comes with her fair share of history that intersects with the various characters ( of which there are many) that is woven within the story.

   As you would expect, there is the disgruntled guy who was passed over for promotion, there are the long family ties that go back for decades which enter in the picture, politics and power, drugs and abuse, and bizarre murder scenes.

   Although there were many scenarios happening simultaneously in the book I felt the author kept them all connected while telling the story. I couldn’t put this down and hope to see more of the new Sargent Riley in the future.

Was this review helpful?

Riley is the Sargent of a small Iowa police department. She feels she has a lot to prove. A body is found in a cornfield of a local farmer and when Riley goes to the scene, she recognizes the person as an old friend.

This was a well written book but it just seemed to have so much going on and a multitude of characters to keep up with. There were some annoying things for me as in one section during an interview, the word "Sir" was used so repeatedly I was cringing. Also "Sarge" was used to extreme in my opinion.

The book is worth a read, it is exciting but you will need a strong stomach.

Thanks to Netgalley and Flatiron Publishers for giving me the chance to read and review this book.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you Netgalley, Flatiron Publishing, and Author Erin Young for this ARC.

This isn't a terrible book. It's written well with decent characters. However, it's far from my cup of tea. I wasn't expecting it to be a detective type novel surrounding a crime that has to do with small town political agriculture. I struggled to get through this.

Was this review helpful?

This one didn’t really do it for me. It centers on newly minted police detective, Riley, whose first murder case is that of a childhood friend. Throughout the book, the reader learns more about Riley’s backstory while also figuring out the crime itself.

The story is primarily a police procedural, which I wasn’t expecting but is a genre I enjoy. The part I didn’t love was the tie in the the politics around the agriculture industry- I’m just not interested in that sort of scandal, and it was more prominent than I anticipated. Riley herself was a flawed but believable character.

All in all, the resolution of the murder was sound and I found it to be a decent read, just didn’t really enjoy some of the subject matter. Thanks to Netgalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

I would like to thank @Netgalley and @Flatiron Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book.

The Fields is a highly interesting police procedural set in the rural Corn Belt. Riley Fisher, a recently promoted sergeant in the Black Hawk Sherrif’s Office, is confronted with the death of a woman who was once a close friend. The death is violent and mysterious, as is dramatically portrayed in the opening scene, which follows the terrified young woman into a cornfield:

“Her lungs were burning. The thrumming in her ears was louder. Something out there. Coming closer. She felt a fresh stab of terror as light smeared the shadows, the knotted canopy shimmering green above her….”

It’s a page-turning opening, which also hints at the level of writing to be expected from the rest of the book. Without calling attention to themselves, the literary descriptions bring to life the bleak, opioid-ridden community which is increasingly dependent on Big Agriculture for its livelihood. Trapped in this milieu, formerly independent farmers combine their family land into a co-op which serves as a testbed for a new strain of corn, designed to tolerate more extreme conditions.

The insight into the problems of modern farming and the destruction wrought by Big Ag is one of the most interesting parts of the novel. This passage will long remain in my mind:

“She remembered when birds used to follow the plows in their hundreds, wheeling down to snatch up the worms that were unearthed. These days, you hardly ever saw that. Pesticides and synthetic fertilizers might help the corn grow fast and tall, but left no insects for the birds to eat.”

Unfortunately, the structure of the novel is not as well-controlled as the phrasing. There are a great many characters, with puzzling point of view shifts away from Riley to unnamed minor characters. Riley herself makes the expected number of stupid decisions that endanger herself and her job; and she has the expected traumatic backstory that somehow does little to illuminate her current life. The plot expands too fast and too wide for reader credulity; and soon rural Iowan Riley is pursuing a serial killer linked to international agricultural espionage.

Luckily, Riley’s relationships—especially with her brother Ethan, his daughter Maddie, and her grandfather Joe—are entirely believable and center the book in a compelling family struggle. Riley herself is not particularly likable, but she is quite convincing; and her relationships with the other lawmen in her office seem similarly real.

The realistic characterization and the vivid writing are, to me, the most accomplished parts of the book, but the mystery and the information about modern agriculture will keep you reading. If it were possible, I would give this novel 3.5 stars and recommend it to readers who like to learn something through their addiction to thrillers.

Was this review helpful?

Oof, this was a crime thriller debut where we are introduced to a female sergeant. I'm so not a lover of police procedural books and I was not aware this was that kind of story. However, I pushed through and really did like the prose. 3 stars for the writing!

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley and Flatiron Publishing for the ARC of The Fields by Erin Young. As a small town girl, I can attest to the allure of a small town mystery or thriller. The circle is small, and you don’t quit know anyone like you thought you did. I certainly did not guess who the killer was and didn’t anticipate the “twist.” This was a good read.

Was this review helpful?

This book is an exceptional debut. For the most part, it felt well developed and tied up its lose ends. There was a lot of different plots happening at once in this book, inevitably leaving some things to be rushed. The plot lines did feel quiet busy in some parts but I did like how it came together and answered almost all questions going on in the book.

The beginning scene definitely was a strong way to draw readers in and build suspense that the author upheld extremely well throughout the book. The author was able to capture the true sinister feel of the grizzly crimes throughout the novel as well. The detail of the crimes and crime scenes were very disturbing and not for the faint of heart.

Main character Sergeant Riley’s traumatic past was told in parts that kept me guessing and was important to the plot as the sight of her old friend as a victim to an unknown killer brings decades of trauma to the surface. There was definitely a level of subplot about how exactly trauma can ruin your life and the lives around you which was, at times, extremely raw. Even still, I don’t know if the book fully handled that but it was an interesting dynamic as things in Riley’s smallish town just kept getting more and more bizarre.

All of that said, this book was very thrilling and did a good job of executing the multiple POVs. I wouldn’t say all of the twists/ how it came together was necessarily extremely hard to guess but the plot felt unique up until I realized a lot of the key points of the final solution were similar to the movie "Zootopia." While obviously this book has a lot more adult themes and storyline, there were obvious similarities and it made the plot feel less unique once I realized it.

Overall, I would still recommend this book as a pretty decent thriller/mystery. This book will obviously be continued and I would be very interested to read the next one as well.

Was this review helpful?

Erin Young has written a murder mystery that is complicated and at the same time easy to follow. In fact, it is so easy to follow it kept me up half the night so I could find out "who dun it". If this is book #1 of a series, I will definitely be reading more of them.

Riley is a fractured, if not broken, woman who becomes a police detective. Her skills come under scrutiny when her first case is a murder that becomes more of a set of murders. She gets "help" from her boss, and even the governor, which raises the hair at the back of her neck, and the reader's also. Her family dynamics come into play when her brother is arrested by one of the detectives under her for drugs and her niece is having problems with all the emotions.

The Fields grabs your attention from the beginning and keeps it throughout. Highly recommended if you enjoy suspense and intrigue.

Was this review helpful?

A must read! A roller coaster ride of suspense and red herrings with corporate/political corruption and murder in the heartland. Interesting insight in Big Ag versus the small farmers which added to the intrigue. What's going on is more than you think, and things tie together nicely. Hope this is the beginning of a new series!

Was this review helpful?

My thanks to Flatiron Publishing, as well as to NetGalley, for the opportunity to read and review an early copy of The Fields!

This book tells the story of the newly-promoted head of investigations for Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office, Riley Fisher, and how she deals with the bizarre case of a lifetime! As the investigation grows more and more complicated, each victim is found with more harrowing injuries than the last.

There was a lot I liked about Riley, especially when she was in her bad-ass cop mode! She was definitely unpredictable and for the most part, she dealt with the rather gruesome crimes like a pro. Unfortunately, her personal life was a mess, and her dealings with THAT led to some foolish decisions. At times she was trying to protect family members and at others, it was because she didn't feel ready to share her suspicions with the other investigators.

Some other issues I had were 1) Holy moly, there were a lot of characters in the book!! My head was spinning, especially when I was trying to keep track of people who had similar names i.e., Logan and Larson. (Speaking of Logan, I reeeally liked him!) 2) It drove me a little crazy when Riley would sometimes go off on her own "behind-the-scenes" investigations, without telling anyone where she was going, or why. 3) My biggest issue was with an episode, which happened when Riley was a teenager, and it was told in tiny dribbles here and there throughout the book. I so dislike when authors do that. By the time it had all been told, I wondered why it had even been included in the book. I found it to be very distracting and, in my opinion, felt it might have made for a cleaner and smoother plot if it had been left out.

One unintentional editing error left me laughing out loud. A character named Jason was described as "slim and tanned with wavy brown hair and blue eyes. His plaid shirt bulged at his heart with a carton of cigarettes." That would be quite a bulge.😂 It makes me a little sad to know that will undoubtedly be corrected in the final book.

Anyway! I consider The Fields to be a promising debut. 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.

Was this review helpful?

The Fields by Erin Young—A gritty but flawed heroine propels this dark, imaginative thriller.

The Fields by Erin Young, who also writes historical fiction as Robyn Young, is the author’s debut crime thriller. The book, featuring Sergeant Riley Fisher of Black Hawk County (Iowa) Sheriff’s Office, is the latest in a series of entertaining thrillers I’ve read recently.

I was worried this book might be a bit predictable, from the title and knowing the genre. The premise seemed obvious. I expected the cops would discover the body of a murder victim in a remote field somewhere and then set about trying to solve the crime and identifying the killer. As someone who reads many crime thrillers, it wasn’t like I haven’t been there before. But, as I read the publisher’s synopsis, I found an interesting twist.

I learned that the story is set in rural Iowa and that a farmer discovered the expected murder victim in the cornfield of a family farm struggling to exist against the competition with the giant corporate farms of Big Agriculture. I found this compelling since most crime thrillers today are set in large, well-known cities with huge law enforcement agencies investigating the crimes. Finding a novel set in the rural heartland of America with a small county law enforcement agency investigating a horrific murder was a welcome change of pace.

I like that Young sets the stage quickly. When Sergeant Fisher, newly promoted head of the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Department investigations division, arrives on the scene of a gruesome murder, she discovers the victim is an old friend she grew up with. We soon learn that it complicates things for Fisher since it dredges up troubling memories of events from her past, memories of the worst thing that ever happened to her and nearly destroyed her life.

Young provides us the details of the past and present gradually in such a way that kept me riveted. I really liked this book because, though we’re kept in suspense about exactly what’s going to happen in the future, it highlights how the events of the past impact the way the story unfolds.

The Fields is a thriller as much about human nature and behavior and relationships as about unraveling secrets and mysteries and the eventual outcome of a criminal investigation. Here there’s a strong sense of grief and guilt as Young takes us into the mind of Riley Fisher, and we learn more about her childhood, adolescence, and her relationship with her family. Riley is a flawed and tortured heroine for reasons not all of her own making. But, she earned my empathy as she doggedly and courageously works to suppress the horrific memories of her past to lead her team in the investigation of what turns out a string of seemingly related murders.

Young kept me engaged as the story unfolded and often surprised me with intricate and compelling twists along the way. I also liked the support characters, including Riley’s partner Logan Wood, her brother, Ethan, a troubled addict, and her niece Maddie. Riley’s interactions with Ethan allow the reader insight into how the baggage they both carry from the past informs how they relate to each other.

Young paces the story well and keeps the twists coming, ultimately taking the reader in unexpected directions. While dark and at times devastating, the book is at the same time touching and uplifting. This novel, a strong debut in a planned series, is perfect for anyone who enjoys a suspenseful crime thriller with a strong female lead.

The Fields by Erin Young will be published in the United States by Flatiron Books, a division of Macmillan Publishing, and goes on sale on January 25, 2022.

I received a copy of the book used for this review from the publisher via Net Galley, representing my honest and unbiased opinions.

Was this review helpful?

The Fields will grab you from the beginning and won't let go! The turn of events at every corner will keep you guessing who killed the lady in the cornfield in such a horrific cannibalizism way.
Political corruption that could cause an international threat to public.
A fabulous debut to a new series!
Thank you Net Galley and the author for a digital copy. Read and reviewed voluntarily and the opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.

Was this review helpful?

This was so good, I had a pretty crappy read prior to reading this and was kind of like her we go again but this pleasantly surprised me! And I would consider purchasing this and adding to my collection. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me a copy of this fo read.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you Flatiron Books and Netgalley for providing me an eARC in exchange for an honest review

I really enjoyed this book. It was fast paced and compelling. It starts out with a brutal murder of a young woman who the main character has a past friendship with. It then follows the main character Sargent Riley Fisher as she works on solving the ever growing case as more victims turn up. I thought the plot was really interesting. I don’t want to say too much or else it will spoil the mystery but the foreign interests, government corruption, big agriculture and the growing complexity of the investigation kept me on my toes the entire time. I felt like I was reading a criminal minds episode. The details of the murders are graphic and intense and the nature of the murders are disturbing. So if you have a squeamish stomach I would definitely check the trigger warnings. My one critique is that I did find that the story had a lot of characters which I personally struggled with keeping straight. Also when the POV would switch I would find myself sometimes confused trying to keep track of who was who and what was happening. But overall I enjoyed this murder mystery.

Was this review helpful?

This was promising debut with blood freezing and intense opening: a brutally killed young woman lying in the corn field, discovered by drones flying around the area like vultures sniffing the smell of their preys.

It’s good combination of political thriller meets slow burn mystery takes place in small town where the farmers slowly lose their jobs to Big Agriculture: an industrial giant company taking over their farms from their hands.

After the murders start to occur, some of the politicians try to benefit them for upcoming elections.

Two things about the book didn’t work so well for me: third narration storytelling and lots of characters I barely keep their names on my mind.

The story centered around Riley Fisher who recently becomes sergeant at her young age, investigating the dead girl’s murder who is found at the cornfield. Actually the girl was her childhood friend. But the murders don’t stop and she starts suspecting there’s a serial killer out there with ulterior motives and if she really wants to catch him, she needs to face her own skeletons in the closet. She has to dig more the biggest and ugliest secrets of townies against raising political threats and intimidating manners of her own folks.

The identity of the culprit was a little obvious. There was no big surprise or earth shattering revelation.

I liked the characterization of heroine and her traumatic past story but I wish the book was told from her perspective with less characters more action scenes.

I’m still rounding up my 3.5 stars to 4 town politics, agricultural rivalry, secrets, lies, brutal murders stars for promising start of it.
Special thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.

Was this review helpful?