cover image The Fields

The Fields

Erin Young. Flatiron, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-79939-5

In debut author Young's promising if overstuffed series launch, the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office receives a call regarding a days-old bite-covered corpse in a Cedar Falls, Iowa, cornfield. Sgt. Riley Fisher recognizes the victim as former childhood friend Chloe Clark, with whom she hasn't spoken in years. Chloe's husband claims he didn't report her missing because he thought she had left him for another man, but Riley has doubts. Shortly thereafter, a security guard discovers Nicole King's decomposing body at an abandoned meatpacking plant, a human tooth lodged in her thigh. Homeless vet George Anderson's belongings are scattered nearby, but he's nowhere to be found. The investigation's focus shifts to Anderson as a possible serial killer, but Riley fears her team is overlooking something. Departmental infighting, family troubles, state politics, and friction between "Big Ag" and local farmers add to the tale's turmoil. Despite a labored setup and a convoluted denouement, Young delivers a disturbing, twist-riddled thriller stocked with well-drawn characters. Fans of Midwestern crime fiction will be pleased. Agent: Dan Conaway, Writers House. (Jan.)