Monday, August 7, 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 human trafficking of young girls is the ugly secret of life on the high seas.

Liliana Ferrera, a fifteen-year-old girl, willingly boards a fancy super-yacht that's docked in her hometown, a small island in the Portuguese Azores, thinking she's going to America to meet her online boyfriend and finally pursue her interest in fashion design. For Liliana, it's all about breaking free of parental control and doing what she wants to do with her life, but little does she know that she's in way over her head and in a heck of a lot of trouble.

The boyfriend she never met could very well be a creep, who's catfishing for an unsuspecting kid. The boat she's on could be in the hands of an ISIS terror network or any number of major crime organizations. Ultimately, she could end up anywhere in the world, and not even know it. Impetuous and headstrong, "she knew she was exquisite looking. That was obvious. What she apparently didn't know was how her beauty might put her life in danger."

It's a known fact that violent crimes committed in international waters frequently go unreported. Young girls are lured onto these yachts with the promise of employment as a maid or galley worker in exchange for their passage. Some are convinced that they're being hired as models, as Liliana is led to believe, when she's really been classified as "unblemished merchandise," or code for still a virgin.

When the auctioneers release a photo of her to prospective buyers, she appears happy and unharmed, ensuring that if the photo ever falls into the hands of the police, they'll simply classify her as a runaway, with little chance of ever being rescued. When the bidding for her starts at half a million dollars, she quickly becomes a valuable commodity for the rich men who charter flights and arrive in limos, ready to quietly haul away their human cargo and avoid detection by the authorities.

When an undercover DEA agent happens to stumble upon a drugged Liliana during an unrelated raid, she sums the situation up best by saying, "Just when I'm convinced human beings can't think of anything worse to do to each other, someone comes up with another creative way to prove me wrong."


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. Dear Tribute Books Reviews,
    Thank you so much for perfectly capturing the essence of the plot of Spine Damage. I so much appreciate how you've pin-pointed the real-life issue that inspired this book.
    Sharon St. George

    1. Keep at it, Sharon. We all enjoy your writing.