Due for Discard, by Sharon St. George: A Corpse Found in a Dumpster Throws a Small Town into Turmoil

due_for_discardDue for Discard ($15.95, 340 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-223-8), is the first book in a mystery series by debut author Sharon St. George, set in Northern California and featuring Aimee Machado, a forensic librarian. On her first day on the job, Aimee discovers that her own brother is the prime suspect in the murder of her supervisor’s wife.

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“The multidimensional Aimee is a delightful character, full of spunk and grit. Romance readers will appreciate the entanglements and situations in which Aimee finds herself as several men pursue her romantically. The author keeps the reader guessing until the end about who really holds Aimee’s heart. Due for Discard, which is the first in a series, is breezy and light, with some humor thrown in, despite the murder that frames the story.”  Read more….

—Hilary Daninhirsch, ForeWord Magazine

Due For Discard has everything you’re looking for in an entertaining novel—a twisty mystery, a fast-paced plot, lots of laughs, and a spunky heroine in Aimee Machado. Plus, llamas!”

—Steve Brewer, author of A Box Of Pandoras

“Sharon St. George’s debut mystery is a delight with an appealing heroine, an intriguing setting, and fast-paced action. Readers will eagerly await the second Aimee Machado mystery.”

—Carolyn Hart, author of the Death on Demand and Bailey Ruth series.

Due for Discard is a sparkling debut featuring a charming sleuth with common sense and a most unusual herd of sidekicks. Highly recommended.”

—Terry Shames, author of the Samuel Craddock Mysteries

“Aimee Machado is a likable, intelligent, sensible young woman—and I love the llamas!”

—Carola Dunn, author of the Daisy Dalrymple and Cornish mysteries

“Sharon St. George offers up several quirky elements that really set her mystery novel apart. For starters, her heroine, Aimee Machado, lives next to a field full of llamas. So even though she takes on the dangerous work of investigating a murder in her spare time, she has no need for an alarm system. Why? Because llamas let out a ferocious bleat whenever they sense a predator nearby. Another factor is the zany pack of suspects that fall under Aimee’s radar…. Aimee’s a tough cookie with a heart of gold, and she won’t give up no matter who tries to stop her. She’s loyal, passionate and unwavering in her support of her brother.”  Read more ….

—The Plot Thickens Book Blog

“I love when a book’s setting feels as alive as a supporting character. The foothills of the Cascade Mountains are where this story takes place, and the rusticity of the locale is what charmed me from the get go. Aimee Machado lives in the converted bunkhouse above her grandparents’ barn. Their ranch is populated with a pasture full of fuzzy llamas and wooly sheep. There’s even a pet snake in a tank, a wise-cracking bird, and a temperamental cat…. St. George threads the needle admirably, connecting all the dots. Mystery fans will undoubtedly want to return to Highland Ranch in Coyote Creek for Aimee Machado’s next case.”  Read more ….

—City Girl Who Loves to Read

“I have to say that I absolutely LOVED this book…. There are a lot of characters in this book, but I had no problem sorting them out in my head. I think with the descriptions you are given it made things easier to picture and therefore easier to follow.  I didn’t want to put the book down – even though I had to! (You know, eating and sleeping)  I am quite pleased that this is the first in a series and am looking forward to reading more!”  Read more….

—Concert Katie

“Unique is the best word to describe Sharon St. George’s crime-solving novel. I know I got a kick out of the fact that Aimee was staying at her grandparents’ llama farm, tending to the furry creatures while they were away. You don’t come across a character like that too often, and it made me smile in the midst of all the tension and mounting suspense. If you like mysteries, you will enjoy the twists and turns in this one. I know you’ll come to adore the character of Aimee Machado as much as I did. I’m thrilled that she’s going to star in her own continuing series.”  Read more….

—Tribute Books Mama

“This mystery has suspense, but it also has surprisingly, humor.… Aimee and her friends and relatives are all likeable. I imagine you’ll find Aimee’s sequel mysteries quite entertaining, as well. This particular novel, Due for Discard, is a good read. It has action for thrill seekers, humor for relief, romance for interest, and the plot itself, for mystery buffs. What else do you want?”  Read more….

—The One True Faith Blog

“The characters are an amazing array of people and have such a great culture of distrust and concerns. Aimee is like a breath of fresh air that creates a bubble of humor but also opens a few hearts and minds to the differences in each other. As she penetrates the secrets of those involved you can see how her mind works and it endears you to her, creating a buy in on the possibilities of her being able to both find the answers and solve the crime while staying out of jeopardy herself. Both her brother and Nick round out the group and you find yourself rooting for them both, her brother Harry to be exonerated, and for Nick to win her back. The interplay between the three is fascinating to behold. If you enjoy romance and mystery and are looking for a new sleuth to hold your interest you will enjoy this book and the new Aimee Machado Mysteries to follow. Your mystery library will be the perfect setup for this new series.”  Read more….

—Tic-Toc Book Reviews

“Aimee Machado is real. She has a lot of faults. She’s not perfect. And that’s what makes her interesting.”  Read more….

—The Character Connection

“The final capture is dramatic, with good tension and excitement. I also loved all the animals, especially the llamas, the cat, Fanny, and the cockatiel, Bosco. I never realized that llamas were such good watch animals. Fans of the cozy mystery will enjoy watching Aimee as she hunts for clues and suspects, putting herself in danger, as she works to uncover the truth.”  Read more ….

—Cyclamen, Long and Short Reviews

“A wonderful start to this series, Due For Discard will certainly pique your interest. The reader is drawn into Aimee Machado’s chaotic life as she tries to juggle her new job, her family life, and her love life all in one. Sharon has beautifully crafted a believable world. The characters and their interactions flow quite nicely, and the action never stops.”  Read more ….

—Lissette E. Manning, Siimplistik.com

“I enjoyed the characters. They were fun and easy to get to know and care about. It took me a while to warm up to Nick but I liked him best of all…. I love a mystery where I suspect EVERYONE. With the exception of Nick, Harry, Amah and Jack (Aimee of course) anyone could have been the murder. After all, Bonnie Beardsley left a long trail of broken homes and hearts.” Read more ….

—Of Thoughts and Words Blog

“If you are a fan of cozy mysteries, Due for Discard is worth the read. It’s a pleasant whodunit to add to your bookshelf.”  Read more….

–Romancing the Book

“Four stars. very well written… the characters will surprise.”  Read more….

—Lynn’s Corner

Due for Discard pulled me in from page one and refused to let go. The content is so exciting and perfectly paced that you can’t help but read ‘just one more page.’ The mystery surrounding the crime is well hidden and incrementally revealed at the appropriate times…. The dialogue between all of the characters is smooth and understandable. And who can forget the llamas! I love their random cameos. I can’t wait to see where Sharon St. George takes Aimee next.”  Read more….

—Sapphyria’s Book Reviews

Aimee Machado is thrilled to be starting her first job as a forensic librarian at the medical center in the town of Timbergate, north of Sacramento, California. Her ebullient mood is somewhat dampened by her recent breakup with her former live-in boyfriend, Nick Alexander. And then there’s a little matter of murder: on Aimee’s first day on the job, a body is found in a nearby Dumpster and soon identified as her supervisor’s wife, Bonnie Beardsley.

Aimee’s heartbreaker of a brother and best friend, Harry, just happens to be one of the last people to see Bonnie alive, but he is hardly the only suspect. Bonnie was notorious for her wild partying and man-stealing ways, and she has left a trail of broken hearts and bitterness. Aimee is determined to get her brother off the suspect list.

Aimee’s snooping quickly makes her a target. Isolated on her grandparents’ llama farm where she fled post-breakup, she realizes exactly how vulnerable she is. Three men have pledged to protect her: her brother Harry, her ex, Nick, and the dashing hospital administrator with a reputation for womanizing, Jared Quinn. But they can’t be on the alert every minute, not when Aimee is so bent on cracking the case with or without their help.

Says St. George, “While coordinating a medical staff organization and managing the health sciences library of an acute care hospital, I was well aware of the intrigues that go on behind the scenes. I am also a llama packer. So, in my mind, a forensic librarian in a hospital seemed like the perfect amateur sleuth and a rural llama ranch, the perfect setting. Writing this series has given me an excuse to learn more about our legal system and law enforcement, the art of jujitsu, career pilots flying corporate aircraft, journalists on foreign assignments, and managed hunting as a conservation tool.”

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. For more information, click here.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

I had been up Sunday morning just long enough to make coffee and fetch the paper when my phone rang. For the first time in days, the Beardsley case was not on the front page. A brief story in the local section recapped earlier accounts and quoted the chief of police saying that all leads were being pursued. The phone rang again, and Bosco, the unhinged cockatiel, responded with an ear-splitting squawk. I guessed the caller would be Amah, checking in from Idaho.

I picked up the phone, trying to shush the crazy bird while I faked a cheerful tone.

Just as I said “Hello,” Bosco uttered one of his favorite quotes. “Go ahead, make my day.” As usual, he nailed his Dirty Harry impersonation.

The caller wasn’t Amah.

“Hey, lady. Was that Bosco, or are you dating Clint Eastwood these days?”

“Nick?” Disoriented, I lost my breath for a moment. Then anger came to my rescue. “What do you want?”

“It’s been eight weeks since Paris. I understand why you were upset, but I think you owe me a chance to explain. I thought we might get together and talk things out.”

Tears threatened, but I was determined that he wouldn’t hear the pain in my voice. I swallowed, took a beat. “What’s the point? Aren’t you and Rella back together?”

“Look, this is too complicated for the phone. Can I see you?”

“I don’t think so, Nick. It’s best if we both move on.”

I hoped that would be true one day. With Harry in jeopardy and a new job to protect, I didn’t have the emotional energy to deal with Nick. I couldn’t afford the distraction until the Beardsley case was solved and Harry was in the clear.

“I’m not giving up on us, Aimee. We had something worth fighting for.”

“I used to think so.” I used to think Nick was the love of my life, but not anymore.

“Then think again. You know where to find me.”

Bosco squawked again and boomed out his other favorite epithet in a gravelly voice no one in the family recognized, “Hit the floor, asshole!

I heard Nick’s soft laughter in my ear as I hung up.

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