January 25, 2022
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by Erin Young
Review by Joy Gorence
Riley Fisher’s hidden past could thwart her first case as Black Hawk County’s lead detective. When the mutilated body of an unnamed young woman is found in the middle of a corn field, Riley’s secret with two estranged high school friends forces her to face her demons. At the same time, she continues to contend with the prejudices of an old boys’ network in America’s agricultural corn belt. Her investigation eventually unveils the machinations of politics and big business that are destroying her community. A timely novel, Erin Young’s The Fields provides the reader with Riley Fisher, a character, to whom the reader finds a binding affinity.
The Fields begins with a nameless female running through a corn field in America’s heartland. With descriptions that pummel the reader’s senses into experiencing the same type of disorientation as her unnamed character, Ms. Young provides a gripping introduction to a world of corruption and greed. In the final minutes of the character’s nightmarish attempt to escape her death, the reader tries to gain clarity as to the events that have led to this character’s demise.
When Riley begins her investigation to this woman’s death, Jackson Cole, a fellow officer, becomes her nemesis. The manifestation of his bitterness, due to her recent promotion, prevents her from seeking his help in the investigation. She instead turns to Logan Wood, a recent recruit to the sheriff’s office.
What Riley uncovers in her search for the truth are the dynamics between members of the political community and a powerful conglomerate. In this area of the country, a major agricultural business with extreme lobbying power has decimated small farms. The hubris of big business in its attempt in “corn breeding and engineering” that “control American’s food supply,” becomes an integral part of her investigation.
With an eye for detail, Erin Young has provided a timely tale of mystery. Not only will the reader come away with a formidable knowledge of the changing landscape of our heartland, but Ms. Young introduces a strong female character who defies the odds to uncover the truth behind the murders in a previously quiet community.
Joy Gorence is new to Killer Nashville. She is an author, world-traveler, English professor (ret.), and avid reader. Originally from Long Island, NY she now lives in South Florida with her husband, Bill, and their two pampered kitties.