book review

The Fields by Erin Young

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Publication Date: January 25, 2022

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Pages: 345

Genre: Crime Fiction

Trigger Warning: sexual assault, drug use. Those are what stick out to me but I did read this book months ago so I may be missing some.

Rating: 2/5

The Fields is a crime novel following police Sergeant Riley Fisher as she is trying to solve the murder of a childhood friend, which is quickly followed by more murders. There is a lot going on in this book including a tangled backstory with Fisher and her deceased friend. Further complicating matters is a sub plot with a political race, tensions in the police station since Fisher was promoted to Sergeant and not one of her male colleagues along with intense family issues.

This is a debut novel so I can understand how the story got messy with all the different plot lines going on. They do all converge toward the end but there was more than a few things that could have been edited out to give a cleaner story. For instance, the political angle of the story could have just been hinted at through Riley and not a random person thrown into the story that didn’t do anything other than prove how shady the man running for reelection is. I also didn’t understand the whole dynamic between Riley and her fellow police officer. I understood that he treated her badly because he didn’t get the promotion but the further motivations between them were not needed. I also had an issue with the backstory between Riley, her high school friends, and her brother. I thought it made a lot of sense but I didn’t understand why Young kept it such a secret and only revealed parts of it at a time. It only further complicated an already overstuffed plot and could have been handled much better.

It might seem based on all the complaints that I didn’t love this book but there were moments that I really enjoyed. I thought Young did a really great job with the actual investigation part and the pressure being put on Riley to solve the case. I enjoyed Riley and the investigative team she put together to solve the murders. I hope in future books in this series that we get to see them work together more and Young focuses more on them and not so much on things that take away from the story.

If you love crime fiction then I still do recommend this one because I’m hoping that Young will come back with a stronger second novel in this series. All the bones of a good detective novel were present and if you can overlook all the unnecessary extras in the story, I think you will find that it is a compelling mystery.

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