"There is a scarlet thread of murder running through the colorless skein
of life..."
    Arthur Conan Doyle

Death wears many faces for the equine veterinarian—shattered bones, twisted guts, raging fevers—but Jordan Pascoe has never seen anything like this: Goldrush, beloved jumper of Devon Dowry, dies in agony as his nervous system inexplicably shuts down. Even more puzzling, the next morning, before Goldrush’s blood and tissue have been sent to a lab, RuthWallace, of Virginia Bloodstock Insurance, calls regarding the case. At a private meeting, she informs Pascoe that Goldrush is the latest in a string of mysterious deaths. The ambitious adjuster smells fraud and wants Pascoe’s assistance. He refuses, knowing that in Hunt Country, where everyone wants to know their neighbor’s business and share none of their own, his help would be construed as betrayal. She insists: help or the Board of Veterinary Medicine will be informed that he continues to gamble on races in violation of the terms of his probation.

Pascoe spent his childhood as a backstretch rat, left to his own resources by a mother who abandoned the family and a father who made just enough money as a trainer to keep the fridge stocked with Pabst. The gambling bug bit early and hard, and shortly after vet school Pascoe’s losses skyrocketed. He erased the debt by trading ethics for expediency; thus his trouble with the Board. If not for the influence of his boss, King Harkin, his license would have been revoked. But not even Harkin, a revered veterinary legend, can protect him if Wallace squeals. An inability to curb his addiction secures a partner for Wallace.

As Pascoe digs for evidence, secrets rise to the surface like an oily sheen after a shipwreck: a pyramid scheme inflates the value of a Thoroughbred stud; a police department is manipulated by campaign donors; an insurance check breathes new life into a crumbling empire; drugs, adultery, bastard children, old grudges, and bruised egos all lurk in the shadow of the Blue Ridge. Barn Politics is a mystery novel that combines qualities of House and All Creatures Great and Small, though the countryside is less English and much more dangerous.

Philip Marshall

Philip Marshall
Philip Marshall is the pseudonym of Michael Salewski, a veterinarian who practices in the Pacific Northwest. Doctor Salewski specializes in acupuncture, herbal medicine, and chiropractic and is an international speaker and writer on these subjects. He shares a small farm with his wife, two sons, dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, chickens, and a pair of beta fish.

Click here for an interview with Philip Marshall and images for download
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