A while ago, I was reading one of Sue Grafton’s ‘Alphabet Mysteries’ and was impressed with the manner in which Grafton fictionalized a real but small SoCal town as the setting of her series. I have really come to love the California town I live near, Redding, and I became convinced that Redding would make a good setting for a novel series.
Sharon St. George has done it.
Due for Discard is St. George’s debut mystery novel, and it is set in the town of Timbergate, California. Timbergate is the largest town between Sacramento and the Oregon border. Timbergate is on the Sacramento River. Timbergate has very hot summers, and a suburb to the east with llama ranches. Sounds like Redding. Looks like Redding.
And this is a good thing.
Due for Discard begins on the first day of a new job for Aimee Machado. Aimee is a Timbergate native recently home from college armed with a library science degree from a Connecticut university. Aimee has been hired by a local hospital to be its pioneer ‘forensic librarian’. Trouble starts from Aimee’s first day. An influential local woman has gone missing over the weekend. A ‘missing person’ case turns to homicide when the missing woman’s body is discovered. The situation turns personal for Aimee when her brother is named as the prime suspect.
Due for Discard is a well-paced, entertaining novel with interesting and believable characters. It touches on contemporary race issues. Aimee Machado is of Portuguese and Chinese ancestry, and even though she is a Timbergate native, sometimes she is still treated as an outsider in the predominantly white community. I look forward to seeing how St. George develops this theme over the series.
I had the most fun with this novel trying to imagine what the real world counterparts might be to St. George’s fictional locations. I think I was able to identify many of them. For instance, two characters traveled from Point A (a local hospital) to Point B (lunch by the river) and they went to a fast food drive thru while getting from A to B. I could tell what drive thru they had to have used! Not all of the fictional places have real world counterparts, however. Timbergate is Sharon’s town, after all.
Due for Discard is outside of my typical reading tastes. It is a mystery, which I do read, with a touch of romance, which I don’t. Fashion descriptions are no so nearly complete in books I normally read as they are in Due for Discard…but that’s okay. It fits here, and works well. The mystery and the local setting kept me turning pages to the end. I also tend to be a reading polygamist, juggling several books at once and eventually working my way through them all. It was easy to stay true to Due for Discard for the duration, and I finished the book wanting more. I am looking forward to the rest of the series.
Visit Sharon St. George’s website for information on upcoming books in the series.