Thursday, August 3, 2017

Sharon St. George - Spine Damage - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Paulo Ferrara, a young Portuguese man, lies comatose in the Intensive Care Unit of Timbergate Medical Center, shot in the spine. The neurosurgeon who would normally be in charge of his care has left town to attend to an injured daughter, and the only other neurosurgeon, the rude and egotistical Dr. Godfrey Carver, is about to be suspended for not completing his continuing education requirements. The unpleasant duty of ensuring that the staff obey the rules lies with Aimee Machado, the medical center's forensic librarian and Continuing Education Coordinator. Aimee and her pilot boyfriend Nick live together on her grandparents’ llama farm. While dealing with Dr. Carver, Aimee learns the circumstances of Paulo’s injury and enlists Nick’s help. Aimee is half Asian and half Portuguese, and her parents live on Faial, one of the Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal. Faial is the closest neighbor to Pico, home of Paulo and his family. Paulo came to rural Northern California in search of his fifteen-year-old sister Liliana, who vanished two weeks ago. Nick’s wealthy employer Buck Sawyer takes an interest in the girl’s plight as well, especially when they learn that she left the Azores on a superyacht. Not only is Buck a yacht owner, but he is also on a crusade against drug trafficking, and Paulo and Liliana have clearly stumbled onto a criminal operation of some kind. The trail leads Aimee and Nick from Timbergate, to the Azores, to San Francisco. Paulo’s condition is deteriorating, and he might never be able to explain what got him shot. Can Aimee, her brother Harry, and Nick unravel the mystery in time to save Liliana? Book 4 in the Aimee Machado Mystery series, which began with Due for Discard.

My Review

The crying of gulls… The pungent smell of seawater… The bright morning sunlight shining through the window of a porthole…

Sharon St. George's crime novel SPINE DAMAGE takes place in the Azores, a picturesque chain of islands off the Portuguese coast. And it's a fitting locale since Aimee Machado, the character this mystery series is named after, is half Portuguese. In this installment, Aimee returns to the paternal side of her roots by visiting her parents' home with her boyfriend, Nick.

"Sunburned, wind blown and happy," Aimee's parents trade "knowing smiles that said, typical tourist," when Nick gets all excited at seeing a whale up close and personal during a boat ride. They're used to living in paradise and the book hits all the right notes in establishing a sense of island living.

For example, local legend has it that a superstitious sailor once painted a small picture on the marina wall in order to ensure a safe journey home, and to this very day, sailors continue to do the same, adding color and artistry to the walkways surrounding the Horta Marina.

Hospitality is also a key ingredient when it comes to the home life of the Azores people. It's common practice that a woman always takes time to bake for her guests, and the names of some of the Portuguese delicacies - such as "dreams" and "sighs" - sound just as good as they taste.

The population itself is a mishmash of tourists and locals, giving a sense of diversity and worldliness to a place tucked away from the world. But things really amp up during Sea Week, when everyone is hoping to spot the American celebrities who descend upon the town.

But chasing celebrities isn't why Aimee is there. She'd much rather spend time in the little white stucco house with a red-tied roof. Belonging to three generations of her family, it holds a very special place in her heart.

However, this time around she doesn't get to indulge in a little family tradition by taking Nick to the top of Mt. Pico, because as it turns out, a teenage girl with dreams of Hollywood in her head, gets on board one of those fancy American yachts, never to be seen again.

With Aimee and Nick soon to fly home to the United States, can they somehow try to help her distraught parents and find their missing daughter?

Goodbye, paradise. Time to get back to reality.


Spine Damage can be purchased at:
Barnes and Noble

Prices/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $16.78 paperback
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 328
Release: May 15, 2017
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603815819
Click to add to your Goodreads list.


About the Author

Sharon St. George’s writing credits include three plays, several years writing advertising copy, a book on NASA’s space food project, and feature stories too numerous to count. She holds dual degrees in English and Theatre Arts, and occasionally acts in, or directs, one of her local community theater productions. Sharon is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, and she serves as program director for Writers Forum, a nonprofit organization for writers in northern California.

Links to connect with Sharon:
Web Site

About the Giveaway

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  1. City Girl, Thank you so much for your lovely review showcasing the Azores Islands, a setting that is as close to my heart as it is to that of my protagonist. Sharon St. George

    1. I can only imagine how beautiful it must be in real life. Thanks for painting such a realistic picture for us, Sharon.

  2. You're welcome. Maybe I've inspired a few readers to see the islands for themselves.