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The Wheat Field (Pliny Pennington #1)

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  425 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
In 1960, two dead bodies were found in a crop circle. Now, one small-town lawman reveals: What happened out there...
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 4th 2003 by Onyx (first published 2003)
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Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes historical mysteries
Recommended to Mary by: Library Book Sale
There are hardly ever any murders in Kickapoo Falls, Wisconsin - bucolic vacation retreat in the Wisconsin Dells, and home of the politically powerful Kickapoo Gunn Club. In 1960 however, the naked bodies of a married couple - Michael and Maggie Butler - are found in a wheat field; viciously shot to death. It falls to Deputy P. A. Pennington, the trusted number-two man in the Kickapoo Falls Sheriff's Department, to find the killer.

Pliny had been in love with Maggie Butler ever since childhood, a
Judy Barnicle
Liked reading about my local area and some of the lore that I did not know. A bit racy in parts but a good read.
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were lots of reasons why I enjoyed reading The Wheat Field. Let me tell you.

First, the author's prose is gentle as a melodious journey. Seriously, a page-turner. The characters are broken, imperfect beings brought about by situations that made for an intriguing, guileful storyline. Each chapter ends meticulously, matching the suspense's build-up so when the final reveal was uncloaked, it didn't let down.

Lots of stories try to maintain this excitement, this hunger that motivates a reader t
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Wheat Field, as it turns out, is one of those lightweight page turners. I am particularly conscious of this because I’ve just finished reading Cook’s Instruments of Night, a book that has all the bells and whistles of literary fiction.

The Wheat Field is the tale of small-town Wisconsin, 1960. The naked bodies of married couple Mike and Maggie Butler are found in a crop circle and it’s up to Deputy Pennington to discover just what happened. Just what happened turns out to be a sordid tale of
D.F. Haley
The protagonist, our deputy Sheriff, reminds me of the saying, "if you have two shirts, you'll always have one that is relatively clean." His saving grace is idealism, the hope and belief in institutions of society, such as marriage, and a sense of justice. His failures are many, and the reader finds these things out over a series of reminiscences interspersed with the main narrative. At the end of the day, he is the cleaner shirt in a pack of dirty laundry. Set against a background of natural b ...more
Adam Haan
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The people of South Central Wisconsin in 1960 did not believe in lawfulness, or, for that mater, the proper usage of verbs. “How the roads up that way, Sheriff?” shouts Deputy Pliny Pennington, as he exchanges gunfire with his boss and mentor. The Wheat Field by Steve Thayer is an enjoyable book. Although it starts out a little bit slow, the second part of the book is spooky and gripping. Pennington, the main character, comes off as more than a little bit strange. But that’s common, I think, in ...more
Jun 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Although murder mysteries are not at the top of my preferred reading, this one I really liked. The quick, clipped narrative style was very effective in conveying the narrator’s character. Within the story of the compelling murder mystery, it delved into the psychological aspects of the characters and, again dealt with one of my favorite themes – secrets. There were lots of twists and turns and back-stories to keep you guessing about who was involved in what. Thayer is extremely skillful in weavi ...more
mi$$ ҥɪᴆᴆŁеs
Can't believe how far anyone can go for power and money! I have never read anything like this before. It's pretty sexually explicit and seemed like it's got nothing to do with literature. I liked it because I learned a lot about human nature from this book. I didn't like the character Maggie Butler at all! gosh! She's one evil sex maniac! Deputy Sheriff Pliny Pennington was pathetic! If it was me I'd have killed Maggie with my own hands!
Oct 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#1 in the Pliny Pennington series.

Pliny Pennington series - Retired lawman Pliny Pennington recounts the events surrounding the double shotgun murder of a nude couple in a crop circle in Kickapoo Falls, WI during the presidential campaign of 1960. An attempted assassination of JFK may be involved.
Aug 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-cd, mystery
I enjoyed listening to this audio book on my commute to and from work. It was a good murder mystery and I enjoyed the setting, but the sexual content was a little too much. Well done to Mr. Thayer in his ability to describe the surrondings and what the main character was truly feeling, but I wish this R-Rated novel had been scaled down a little bit to be more of a PG-13 story.
Barbara ★
This book was a surprise in that it had a very sexual theme that seemed irrelevant at times and just plain gratuitous. The mystery was interesting and there were a few surprises there as well. A well written story but just not what I was expecting from Thayer. I've read his books before and don't remember them being blatantly sexual.
Oct 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm really digging Steve Thayer. His writing is excellent, he puts twists in his stories that are unexpected, and he writes these lovely flawed characters that are very real and believeable. He also adds a lot of local flair to his writing. He also does a great job of writing very evocative erotic scenes. Very good book.
Jan 18, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2011, 5-star
I really enjoyed this book, although the old man was a crazy ass dude when he was younger. But I would still trust the guy with my life. There is just something really sexy about a sniper. I also was totally surprised by the ending, it caught me completely off guard. I was like "What the crap?". All in all really good book.
Eric Juneau
Jul 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the best thing I read in two months. It's got some plot elements that are sensational -- 1950's pornography, threesomes, presidential assassinations, small town conspiracies -- but it's well-written and quite thrilling. It's not quite a mystery, not quite a thriller. But the story is good, and that's good enough for me. I only wish he did fantasy. :)
Oct 17, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A dark and disturbing book this one is. It isn't a comfortable read. I didn't like it as much as "The Leper" although he did mention leoprosy in the story. That makes me wonder if he does that in all his stories.
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: steve-thayer
Never sure who was the good guy in this book. It is about growing up and remaining in your home town. Deputy Pennington knows everyone, suspects everyone and is himself suspected of a double murder found in a crop circle.
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Steve Thayer book I have read. The book story line does have some sex and violence
so be warned. I really liked the writing style. The book kept my interest up until the very last page in fact I was disappointed to be finished with the book
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steve Thayer's The Wheatfield is a great book so far. I have not finished it yet. I've been reading it for a while now. I haven't had the time to read it everyday and that often, but where I left off is very thrilling and cannot wait to read the rest !!
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was ultimately very disappointing. I read another book by this author many years ago
and liked it but not this one. It was pretty easy to figure out the ending. Also, the book was
too "racy", any old-fashioned word but appropriate for this book.
Jun 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: excellent
I loved it and each of his books that I've read since. He is a Minnesota author and I lived in Northern Iowa for a very long time and went to Minneapolis/ ST Paul all the time so I recognize places he writes about and that makes it even more enjoyable.
Lisa H.
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I still can't figure out what this book was trying to be - murder mystery, psychological study, political thriller, "erotic" thriller... Whatever Thayer was trying to do with it, I don't think it succeeded at any of it. A very odd book.
Jim Moffett
So, I skipped alot of this book, as there were chapters in it that had nothing to do with the story.

Ultimately, I didn't really care for the book, but it was OK.
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
If this was print-on-demand, a VERY poor example--blank pages and horrible typos/editoring errors. Just not a good story either.
Rod Zemke
Would not recommend.
Oct 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Straight forward like a good Minnesotan or Wisconsinite... Beware of the sexual content, which adds to the grittiness of the book.
This one was a little scary for me, but I thought it was interesting how the story played out.
Karen Brown
Recommended by Debbie; a little convoluted; Canadian geese frolicking thing!
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STEVE THAYER is the New York Times best-selling author of Saint Mudd, Silent Snow, and The Wheat Field. He lives in Edina, Minnesota.
More about Steve Thayer

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