The Fields: Book summary and reviews of The Fields by Erin Young

The Fields

A Novel

by Erin Young

The Fields by Erin Young X
The Fields by Erin Young
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Jan 25, 2022
    352 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A breakneck procedural that is beautifully written and masterfully crafted, Erin Young's The Fields is a dynamite debut―crime fiction at its very finest.

Some things don't stay buried.

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.

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

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Fast, smart and authentic. Riley Fisher is a bold new character on the crime scene, grounding this eerie and engaging thriller. The Fields is one of the best procedurals I've read in a good long while." ―Ace Atkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Heathens

"The Fields is my favorite sort of novel: the sharp prose and explosive plot immediately drew me in, but the richly textured exploration of life in rural America stayed with me long after I finished. I hope to see more of Sergeant Riley Fisher, the novel's dynamic female protagonist. This is a classic crime series in the making." ―Cristina Alger, New York Times bestselling author of Girls Like Us

This information about The Fields shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Judy K. (Montgomery, TX)

Beware of the corn!
The mystery genre is my favorite and I must've read a million mystery books. I've learned to love a good, tangled yarn that, in the end, plays me for a fool. This book surprised me and that surprised me. I also love a good serial killer, a depraved serial killer (is there any other kind?) and The Fields checked that box as well. We've got a flawed detective (think Harry Hole, Jo Nesbo's protagonist as the gold standard) and a back story concerning said detective that keeps rearing it's ugly head. We have a lot of intriguing things in play, all set in the cornfields of Iowa, written by an English author, which is a mystery in itself. How is a lady in Brighton, England, intimate with midwestern America? I live in Texas and I'm very sure I couldn't write about Brighton, England. Kudos to Erin Young for an absorbing story that is well written and keeps you guessing. I look forward to her next book with Sergeant Riley Fisher as the protagonist.

Colleen F. (Carrollton, TX)

Page Turner
I have to say that this book was truly a page turner. I enjoyed all the twist and turns that this book has to offer. Just when you think that you have solved who did it. There is more that happens. I sure hope that she comes out with a part two of this book. I would love to learn more about the main character.

Rebecca K. (Chicagoland)

A great new series
Erin Young's debut novel "The Fields" is a fast-paced and timely mystery. Set in Black Hawk County, Iowa, the story begins with the discovery of a dead body in a cornfield. A young woman was brutally murdered and her body found on a family-run farm. It's one of the few in the area not connected to the Big Agriculture giants. Sergeant Riley Fisher is surprised to find that she recognizes the dead girl as a friend from her high school years.

When more victims turn up, the police try to determine whether they're all related. Eventually, a conspiracy is formed - do the bodies have anything to do with the disagreements between the small, family farms and the large ones using genetically modified seeds and toxic bug sprays. And what role does the state's governor, currently running for reelection, have in the situation?

I loved the characters in the story, especially Riley. She reminds me a bit of Chief Kate Burkholder from Linda Castillo's mystery novels set in Amish country. Riley is a young cop with a complicated history thanks to tragic events in her past. She has to deal with the sexism of others on the force, including one officer particularly angry that Riley received a recent promotion for which he also applied.

This is a fast-paced book (I would have read it faster if I wasn't recovering from major surgery and on lots of painkillers), and I especially raced through the final half because I couldn't wait to find out what happened. I was never able to guess the "whodunit," and I'm sure fellow mystery lovers will appreciate the complexity of the plot. This is the first in a planned series, and I cannot wait to read the future installments!

Carol C. (Troy, NY)

The Fields
I loved this book and can't wait for the next book in the series. While ostensibly a murder mystery/police procedural, it slowly delves into and begins to reveal the secrets and issues of both the main and many secondary characters as well as the setting itself - agricultural Iowa. Add in a bit of political chicanery and the author has provided a riveting story.

Roberta W. (Los Ranchos, NM)

Excellent police procedural mystery
The Fields is a debut crime thriller by Erin Young. I was so glad to read on the back cover that this is the first in a planned series of novels featuring a police sergeant, Riley Fisher. I hope Young is hard at work on the next book because I can't wait to read it!

Young does an excellent job at creating a complex main character. It will be interesting to see this character develop in the future books.

The story is a procedural thriller filled with political corruption and agricultural espionage. The evil agricultural company will no doubt be recognized by many readers as Mansanto (called Agri-Co in the book). The murders are grisly but also a bit weird and made me anxious to know what kind of person the murderer was.

My only criticism of the book is that I felt there was just a bit too much "over the top" action in the last few chapters. It was like the author was trying to throw in as many dramatic scenes as possible at the end and it became a bit chaotic. If they had been spread out a bit earlier I think that would have helped.

I recommend the book and look forward to the next in the series.

Mel F. (Auburn, MA)

Review of "The Fields"
The setting for this novel is the rural state of Iowa with its landscape of prairies, rolling hills and farmland used for corn production, This is an enthralling crime thriller that morphs into a tale that includes multiple murders, past secrets, deceptions, sexual assault, dysfunctional family live and political scandal. One of the major influencers in these outcomes in the intrusion of a major seed production corporation which changes the livelihood of the individual farmer.

This is a lengthy novel that appeals to a reader who wants to become completely absorbed in the detailed complexities associated with the impacts of migration to large scale corn production on the individual farmers. It is like following an "umbilical chord" (phrase used by author ) since each chapter is a necessary artery to provide life to both the occurrences and multiple characters in this novel.

I found this novel completely enthralling and difficult to put down. The author creatively structured words/and/or phrases that supported both the physical and emotional effects on the rural community.

I felt part of an intriguing journey along with the characters and situations exposed and/or unearthed in this crime fiction novel. I think it is an outstanding novel and I look forward to Ms. Young's next foray into this genre.

...10 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Erin Young

Erin Young's debut thriller, The Fields, was inspired by an article about the menacing power of Big Agriculture. A decision to set the novel in Iowa, corn-capital of the world, led her to make a fascinating journey across the state, from chance encounters with cops and farmers to an audience with a local mayor, shooting Glocks and getting caught in supercell storms, from the state capitol to the state fair. Having grown up in a fishing village in Devon, she is drawn to the claustrophobic dramas of rural small-towns and the secrets they hide.

Erin Young is the pseudonym of acclaimed historical novelist, Robyn Young, author of eight internationally bestselling novels. She has been published in 19 languages in 22 countries, selling two million books worldwide. The Fields is her first contemporary thriller. She lives and writes in Brighton, England.

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