Cause For Elimination
Marla A. White
The Wild Rose Press (2022)
Reviewed by Leigh Kimberly Zoby for Reader Views (12/2022)
“Cause For Elimination” is a murder mystery with a touch of romance based in the distinguished world of competitive horse show jumping. Equestrian Emily Conners arrives at the barn early one morning to discover renowned horse trainer Pamela Yates in a stall with her head bashed in. After some investigation by Detective Justin Butler, it is determined this was not a horse related accident but a gruesome murder. With a long list of motives and possible suspects Detective Butler and Ms. Conners set out to unravel the dark secrets and dirty deals behind Ms. Yates’ murder.
Author Marla White creates a compelling cast of characters in this exciting page turner. Emotions of jealousy, greed, lust, and revenge are spread throughout the pages to keep the reader engaged while peeling back layers in classic whodunit style. The depth of character development and scene building is incredible. At times I could envision the barn and felt like a part of their tight-knit horse show community. Wondering why they gossip so much about one subject and are hush-hush about others; in this world it appears everyone has a secret to protect and everyone also has a motive.
The chemistry between the main characters, Emily and Justin, is undeniable.The suspects are villainous and cunning. The banter can be adorable at one moment, then jaw dropping at others. Slowly, back stories are revealed between characters which tie together mysterious events, questionable pasts and treacherous lies. The depiction of rider Emily Conners’ struggle with painkiller dependency after a training injury is well written. You can feel the shame she suffers over who she has become and her need to mask the pain as she fights to continue the profession she loves.
Marla White has created the perfect backdrop for a romantic mystery. Being someone that grew up in the horse show world, I appreciate the knowledgeable way “Cause For Elimination” is brought to life. I love the inclusion of the quirky beliefs some barns partake in, such as psychic counseling for the horses. For me, this is a five-star read. I believe it would appease Rom-Com, Mystery, and Animal fans alike. I loved every page and hope to see more from this author in the future.