The Fields by Erin YoungThe Fields by Erin Young
Narrator: Soneela Nankani
Series: Riley Fisher #1
Published by Macmillan Audio on January 25, 2022
Source: Library
Genres: Mystery, Police Procedural, political thriller
Length: 12 hours 29 mins
Pages: 345
Format: Audiobook
Purchase at Bookshop.org or Audible
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two-half-stars

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.

Too much:

  • 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.

About Erin Young

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. She lives and writes in Brighton, England.

Erin Young’s debut thriller, The Fields, was inspired by an article she read 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, and an audience with a local mayor, to shooting Glocks and getting caught in supercell storms.

Having grown up in a fishing village in Devon, Erin feels drawn to the claustrophobic dramas of rural small-towns and the secrets they hide.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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