Date Published: April 1, 2022
Publisher: Stitched Smile Publications
Narrator: Victor Warren
Run Time: 10 hours, 59 minutes
“Great action, well-told, and authentic with all the nuances and
spirit of small town Texas. Don’t miss it.” -Lone Star Literary Life
In this enigmatic follow up to his critically acclaimed debut novel The
Cuts that Cure, Arthur Herbert returns to the Texas-Mexico border with this
chilling mystery set amidst a small town’s bloody loss of
Amoret, Texas, 1982. Life along the border is harsh, but in a world where
cultures work together to carve a living from the desert landscape, Blaine
Beckett lives a life of isolation. A transplanted Boston intellectual, for
twenty years locals have viewed him as a snob, a misanthrope, an outsider.
He seems content to stand apart until one night when he vanishes into thin
air amid signs of foul play.
Noah Grady, the town doctor, is a charming and popular good ol’ boy.
He’s also a keeper of secrets, both the town’s and his own. He
watches from afar as the mystery of Blaine’s disappearance unravels
and rumors fly. Were the incipient cartels responsible? Was it a local with
a grudge? Or did Blaine himself orchestrate his own disappearance? Then the
unthinkable happens, and Noah begins to realize he’s considered a
Paced like a lit fuse and full of dizzying plot twists, The Bones of Amoret
is a riveting whodunit that will keep you guessing all the way to its
While most of the group trudged behind Chebo with their heads down and mindful of their footing, the last person in line shuffled along staring in our direction, not looking where she was going. A slight woman, she appeared dazed, and as the rest of the group advanced, she lagged behind with her head up and eyes locked on the truck. Zombie-like, she scuffed her feet forward, arms dangling limply by her sides until she stumbled on the uneven ground and fell to her knees. She managed to get to her feet, but once upright her eyes stayed fixed on the vehicle like a lost sailor who’d suddenly located the North Star. Then, unnoticed by the group, she inexplicably peeled off at a tangent from their path, blazing her own trail through the underbrush on a beeline for the truck.
Her track took her ten feet from the group’s conga line, then fifteen, then twenty. The brambles on her path became thicker. She tried to push through, eyes still up and unwavering as she willed herself forward, throwing one foot in front of the other with a shambling, Frankenstein gait.
The thorny vines clawed and scratched at her, yet she still churned forward robotically until eventually the underbrush won out. When the scrub became an impassable wall, she seemed to realize her predicament, but by that point her exhausted body and mind failed her. Unable to go forward, too fatigued to turn back, she went limp, without even the reserves to call for help, the sharp vines suspending her like a marionette.
I shouted at her, “¡No se muevea, no se muevea! ¡Le voy a ayudar!” Chebo had almost reached the highway’s asphalt when he heard me, and for the first time turned to see the straggler. I waved him off and made my way down the slope, then when the thorny scrub got too thick, faced backwards and folded my arms to push through to reach her.
Up close she seemed brittle, with buck teeth and wiry hair, pipe cleaner arms and sandals held together by duct tape. As I stripped away the brambles, her scratched face and glassy eyes drifted toward me, then turned back to rest on the matted spikey runners, unable to help me help her. I felt like I was releasing a rabbit from a snare.
Once I had her free, I hoisted her and pulled her in close to shield her bony frame as best I could, then waded backward up the slope as thorns clawed at me. Eventually the spiked vines thinned, and I could face forward again before taking the last few steps onto the pavement at a trot and gently depositing her on her feet. She stood stock still for a few moments, then shambled in the direction of the truck once again without acknowledging me. I followed, picking thorns from my hands and sucking at the worst of the scratches.
About the Author
Arthur Herbert was born and raised in small town Texas. He worked on
offshore oil rigs, as a bartender, a landscaper at a trailer park, and as a
social worker before going to medical school. For the last eighteen years,
he’s worked as a trauma and burn surgeon, operating on all ages of
injured patients. He continues to run a thriving practice in New Orleans
where he lives with his wife Amy and their dogs.