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.

My Review

I’m not going to pretend this novel is perfect. There are a few things that didn’t quite work – it was a bit far-fetched at times, particularly the ending and Riley’s behaviour is that typical ‘don’t go down in the cellar’, but then she does scenario. With no backup. Of course, or it wouldn’t be as exciting and suspenseful as it is.

And it is exciting and suspenseful. Worthy of my five stars. I absolutely loved it and couldn’t wait to read on. I didn’t always like Riley. As soon as you know she went hunting with her grandfather, the hackles rose, but that’s because we are very sensitive about that kind of thing in the UK. In rural America it’s very different. But let’s not have a debate here about killing animals and gun culture.

Apart from Riley, with her traumatic past, we have Logan, a vegan cop from out of state (sounds like a contradiction in terms), her ghastly, idiot ex Jackson Cole, useless brother Ethan, his teenage daughter Maddie, Rose and Lori and baby Ben – the list is endless. But they are all well-drawn, rounded characters, which is why I remember them all so clearly.

Then we have the victims, including one of Riley’s school friends, who and why, a fierce political battle between Hamilton and Cook, small farmers trying to survive and avoid being aggressively taken over by giant Agri-Co and involvement from the FBI. I secretly hoped there might be a bit of romance for Riley with Agent Klein (though Logan is also on the cards). Maybe in the next book – I can see this is the first in a series.

The plot is complicated with many threads, the grisly murders being just one of them. We have political espionage, climate change, agricultural terrorism, genetically modified crops, you name it – it’s there.

My only criticism is that there is too much exposition at the end – I prefer to see it gradually revealed throughout the story, but in this case the truth is rather too complicated to have been handled any other way. Brilliant book. Bring on the next one.

Many thanks to The Pigeonhole and my fellow Pigeons for making this such an enjoyable read.

About the Author

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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