Checked OutOccupation: Health Sciences Librarian, Timbergate Medical Center, Timbergate, California

When I moved back to Timbergate, my hometown in rural northern California, after earning my Librarian’s degree in New Haven, Connecticut, the first thing I noticed was the absence of tall buildings. Unless you consider a five-story jail a tall building. I don’t. I consider it sad that the major growth industry in Timbergate is crime.

Our next tallest building is the four-story Timbergate Medical Center, where I work. Medicine is our second-largest industry. It gets a hefty share of its business either directly or indirectly from crime: Robberies, exploding meth labs, DUIs, domestic disputes, road rage—I could go on, but it’s depressing.

On balance, the other industry worth mentioning is outdoor recreation, and we have plenty of that. We’re surrounded by snow-capped mountains and abundant lakes for hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, swimming, and skiing.

Speaking of outdoor pastimes, a typical day in my life involves rising early enough to do the morning chores on my grandparents’ llama ranch. That’s where I live, because I’m deep in grad school debt. Helping them out earns me free rent in the small apartment above their llama barn. I feed the llamas and freshen their water before I go to work. I also watch the ranch whenever Amah and Grandpa Jack are traveling, which they do pretty often. They leave me in charge of their eight llamas, an insubordinate cat, a cockatiel, and a pet king snake. Sounds easy, but the snake and the cat both have designs on that little bird. He’s come close to being someone’s dinner more than once.

I’ve lived in the llama barn for several months, since breaking up with my boyfriend, Nick Alexander. Nick is that guy you steer clear of, if you’re smart, because you know every woman wants him. Who needs that kind of competition? But he’s come in handy more than once when I found myself involved in solving a mystery with ties to Timbergate Medical Center. Nick’s a sucker for adventure. He flies corporate jets for a living. To say his boss, Buck Sawyer, is rich, is like saying King Midas has a coin collection. Buck is rolling in it.

What else happens on my typical day? It might be a jujitsu workout at the dojo where my brother, Harry, volunteers as a sensei. We’re both black belts, but his rank is one degree above mine. Harry’s a busy architect. He’s also a bachelor with a full datebook. We’re both Portuguese on our father’s side and Chinese from Mother’s side. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword to be born multi-ethnic, but we’re not complaining. In the gene lottery, we got the best of our parents’ looks and smarts, if I do say so, which makes up for the occasional sidelong glances or outright questions from tactless or unthinking folks who ask, “So what are you?” Harry answers, “I’m an architect.” I say, “I’m a librarian.”

Working as the health sciences librarian at Timbergate Medical Center is the greater part of what I do on a typical day. I’ve spent most of a year upgrading the collection and adding a forensic component. It keeps me pretty busy, but I get a lot of satisfaction out of providing doctors and other health care professionals with the information and resources they need to do their best for our hospital’s patients.

Some of my colleagues still get the wrong idea about my job because of my work with forensic resources. I’m not a crime scene investigator, I’m a librarian! I will admit that what I’ve gleaned about forensics from my work has come in handy a time or two, when a suspicious death involved TMC and the people who work there. I keep hoping there won’t be a next time, because there have been a couple of close calls.

Who knew being a librarian could get you killed?

You can read more about Aimee in Due For Discard and Checked Out, the first two books in the “Aimee Machado” mystery series, published by Camel Press.

About Checked Out

When rodeo cowboy Cody O’Brien is found dead in his horse trailer, it appears that his horse, Game Boy, is the culprit. Aimee Machado, health sciences librarian at Timbergate Medical Center, has no reason to doubt the preliminary finding–not at first. Cody had been in the hospital awaiting an operation the night he died, but he checked himself out. Had he reason to believe his surgeon, Dr. Phyllis Poole, was incompetent? Or is his death related to his complex relationship with his family? It turns out his father is dying, and four people other than Cody stood to inherit: his young trophy wife Echo, his son James, his daughter Keely, and her fiancé Tucker. How does Dr. Poole fit into all this? Her surgical outcomes have not been the best. Not to mention that Laurie Popejoy, TMC nurse and Poole’s rival in the hospital’s blues combo, disappeared the night of Cody’s death.

Aimee is highly motivated to investigate. She once had a crush on Cody’s brother James, who has now set his sights on her. The missing nurse, Laurie, left Aimee a desperate phone message the night she disappeared. Moreover, Aimee’s friend and co-worker Cleo has elicited her help to discredit Dr. Poole.

Aimee is already confused romantically. Although it pains her, she is trying to keep Nick, the pilot she loves but does not trust, at arm’s length. But his help proves too invaluable to refuse. Can Aimee ferret out the truth without losing her job and her life?

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Meet the author
Sharon St. George is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. She serves as program director for Writers Forum, a nonprofit organization for writers in Northerm California. For more about Sharon, go to

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