Review of ‘Original Sins’: A Thrilling Feminist Novel Full of Action

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Original Sins
“Original Sins,” by Erin Young (Flatiron/Courtesy

In Erin Young‘s “Original Sins,” the Midwest sets the stage for a gripping mystery narrative, leveraging its rural expanses, tight-knit communities, and urban landscapes to full effect. Young, in her second novel featuring protagonist Riley Fisher, delves deep into the Iowa terrain, offering readers an action-packed plot populated by vividly drawn characters.

“Original Sins” sees Riley embarking on a new chapter in her career as an FBI agent based in Des Moines, a significant progression from her previous role as the first female sergeant in Iowa’s Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office. However, her transition is abruptly interrupted when she and a fellow agent are summoned to the Iowa governor’s residence.

Governor Jess Cook, the state’s first female governor, has received a menacing anonymous letter, threatening her and her family. The letter bears the hallmarks of the Sin Eater, a notorious figure who terrorized women in the 1990s with brutal assaults. Now, it appears the Sin Eater has resurfaced, with recent attacks echoing the violence of the past.

Tasked with forming a new task force to apprehend the perpetrator, Riley faces immense pressure to crack the case, amidst public scrutiny and political tensions. For Riley, it’s not only an opportunity to solve a high-profile case but also a chance to prove herself in her new role.

Young’s debut novel, “The Fields,” offered keen insights into the changing landscape of family farms, and “Original Sins” demonstrates her ability to infuse a seemingly routine procedural with elements of a feminist thriller. From the outset, the novel grabs hold of readers’ attention, hurtling them through a relentless series of twists and turns towards a breathtaking conclusion.

Readers who enjoy the works of thriller author Karin Slaughter will find much to appreciate in Young’s “Original Sins.” With its tightly woven plot, richly drawn characters, and palpable sense of tension, the novel exemplifies the best of the genre, delivering a riveting reading experience from start to finish.

Repurposed article originally published in Sun Sentinel

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