Root Cause
by Steven Laine

"A winding hill at the end of the road led them toward the university where Bryan hoped they would find the answers to who was responsible for Philomena."

Corvina Guerra is a traveling winemaker hoping to settle down in her family’s Italian vineyard. After she pays a visit to a local winemaker’s winery (as a family favor) she finds her world turned upside down and thrown into quite the mystery. An outbreak of phylloxera, a plant louse that devastated vineyards everywhere in Europe over a century ago, has infested the vines of the winery and has the potential to spread to every winery in the country. Who could have done it and why? Corvina and Bryan make it their mission to get to the bottom of the mystery. If they don’t stop the spread of the outbreak, could it be the end of the entire wine industry?

This cleverly titled novel is a very compelling mystery through and through with a twist that you’ll never see coming. The plot is one complex enough to keep you on your toes yet easy enough not to oversaturate the reader, creating an exciting and page-turning story. The main character’s given field is very different than that normally seen in this particular genre, making Corvina an intriguing character and one to captivate the reader. Laine’s own expertise in the field of winemaking is apparent as he carefully interlaces details within the story. He gives the readers a small glimpse into the world of wine, showing the complexity and intricacies that it takes in the field but without indulging in too much explanation. Everything is explained in just the right manner and helps to wrap up the narrative neatly.

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