By LARRY BALLWAHN | Wilton

John Brown found a body in his Iowa cornfield, not in the conventional way, but with a drone. Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Investigator Riley Fisher responded, and while looking at the decomposing woman, she discovered the body was that of a former close friend, Chloe Miller. Brown was part of a co-op that was battling Agr-Co, the company that controlled most of Iowa agriculture. The discovery of a body in their field was not going to help them in the State Fair competition.

Sheriff Reed questioned Deputy Fisher regarding her ability to conduct an investigation into the death of someone she knew, but Foster assured him that she was the one to lead the investigation. A second body was found in an abandoned meat packing plant, and the press published the fact that there seemed to be human bite marks on both victims. Fear was building in the community just before a sheriff election. 

At the same time that this was happening, the reader was made aware of the governor’s race that was taking place. State Sen. Jess Cook was campaigning against Gov. Bill Hamilton, citing his ties to big ag and what his governance was doing to the state: pollution, and the disappearance of family farms as well as the small communities that supported family farms.

Mission Earth wanted to be sure that Cook would win the election because her proposed policies were much more in line with their goals. Among other things, they hacked the governor’s personal files. While such actions were questionable at best, the response of the governor’s security force was extreme. Deputy Fisher had come into possession of a flash drive from the personal files. Members of the security team were willing to use their guns to get it back. The result was that Fisher wrecked a county police car and temporarily lost the flash drive.

The first victim found had been Riley Fisher’s friend, Chloe Miller. Her husband, Bill Miller, was a person of interest and later seemed to be the connection between those murdered and the governor. Using investment money supplied by Gov. Hamilton, Miller had developed a hybrid corn that grew stronger and faster than any other. The governor had completed a deal with the Chinese that had substantial personal gain for him. The details were in his personal files, those hacked. He didn’t intend to have that information get out. The deal with the Chinese needed to happen. And he would get the flash drive back.

Riley Fisher had murders to solve. She and her team had investigated Bill Miller thoroughly. But an unsolicited call from the governor to vouch for Miller caused her to wonder. Was Miller and maybe even the governor involved in these murders somehow? How did big ag and the election fit in if they did? Candidate Cook tended to blame everything on big ag, and Miller worked for big ag.

Miller’s hybrid caused niacin deficiency and pellagra. They had established that; but that wasn’t murder. Nor was it murder that the governor supported Miller.

“The Fields” is the first of a proposed mystery series. You may want to investigate author Erin Young, since Erin Young is a pseudonym.