Narrator: Soneela Nankani
Series: Riley Fisher #1
Published by Macmillan Audio on January 25, 2022
Genres: Mystery, Police Procedural, political thriller
Length: 12 hours 29 mins
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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.
The Fields was a bit too much for me. Riley Fisher, with a new promotion under her belt, is in charge of the investigation of the gruesome death of a woman found in the middle of a corn field, a woman who was Riley’s friend when they were teenagers.
- Backstory: Riley was friends with the woman, but there’s also another more tenuous personal connection to the case. I’m not a fan of dwelling on backstories and if this is actually the first of the series and relied so heavily on Riley’s past, I’m not sure I want to read the next.
- Gruesome details: I read a lot of mysteries. The details here made me flinch and were just gross. For me they were over the top, and not in an enjoyable way.
- Bad decisions: The detectives in books like this always make some questionable decisions, and Riley is no exception. There are also some decisions that put a child in danger, which always bothers me. That’s part of the reason I prefer my books without kids, even teenagers.
- Preaching: Yes, corporate agriculture is driving out small farms, but The Fields is less than subtle in its viewpoint, so much so that it takes away from the actual plot.
- Politics: I didn’t realize from the blurb that this was going to have so much politics involved. I may have avoided it had I known.
It sounds like I hated the book. I didn’t. It was compelling and I was never tempted to DNF it. Riley is a good character, tenacious, smart, and committed, trying to do the best she can.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: