The Secret Field by Susan Dennis is a spellbinding thriller with unforgettable characters and a conflict that moves the plot forward to unexpected and unsuspecting places. Kari Bell is a chronic loner and she also has her addictions to keep her away from humans. Burying her father and living with her mother’s dark secret are experiences that leave her traumatized. Now she buys a derelict ranch house near the woods and pastureland and settles there in quietude, accompanied by her Siamese cat and two dogs. But the calm she has sought in her new home at the end of a rural road is threatened when Reggie Raintree —the last heir of what was once a plantation extending to the land that Kari now owns — returns with his Russian wife looking for gold hidden in the land that once belonged to the family. Everything indicates that the gold is buried in Kari’s land and Reggie Raintree will stop at nothing to get the land from her. Now Kari has a lot to deal with —corrupt local officials, getting stalked, and being dragged to court — but does she have enough fight to resist Raintree?
Susan Dennis’ The Secret Field is a tale with strong themes and complex characters, a story in which one woman’s quest for a quiet home goes against a ruthless antagonist’s hunt for hidden treasure. This eminently admirable novel melds different genres into one and features a female protagonist that is genuinely flawed and relatable. Kari Bell is well-developed, a multilayered character who has experienced intimate pain and a troubling past, which makes her a compelling character. Within two years, she has transitioned from living in a bedroom that is fully furnished to being the owner of a “rural sanctuary,” becoming “an adoring dog mother.” The conflict takes a painful turn when her new life is threatened. The journey that Kari Bell makes from being a loner to someone who takes up arms to protect what is important to her is excellently executed. This novel is, indeed, a page-turning narrative that is in turn unsettling and thoroughly captivating. The well-written setting and the author’s ability to bring life to the vividly described scenery only enhance the haunting character of this tale. The Secret Field is a fresh literary voice that will surely grab the interest of readers.