THE BONES OF AMORET
Publisher: Stitched Smile Publications
Date of Publication: April 1, 2022
Number of Pages: 323 pages
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 saga of a small town’s bloody loss of innocence.
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 suspect.
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 shocking conclusion.
Clueless Gent’s Rating for The Bones of Amoret
The Bones of Amoret is set in a small town in West Texas, not too far from the Mexican border. The story has a lot of the dynamics attributed to a small town, but it also includes a Texas-sized helping of action!
The story takes the unique form of a local doctor, Dr. Noah “Doc” Grady, talking to a newspaper reporter and recounting some events that occurred about forty years earlier. Doc is talking to the reporter in the 2020s, but the events took place over a period of days in the 1980s.
Doc is the protagonist and tells the story in the first-person narrative. Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that the events include the disappearance of a local professor, the smuggling of Mexicans into Texas, murder, attempted murder, a shy young man who happens to be gay and drug traffickers. That may seem like a lot of parts for one story, but the author does a wonderful job of weaving them together in a way that makes the story an exciting read!
I mentioned the unique form the author took with the story. I thought that was very clever. In addition to Doc telling the story, given the four decades since the events took place, he was able to add some hindsight to make things clearer or give perspective.
For me, the characters are what really bring this story home. One of my favorite characters, aside from Doc, was Sheriff Lloyd McHenry, the local law enforcement. The Sheriff seemed to have more than a fair share of common sense. He didn’t rush to judgment. He also managed to “look the other way” when things were sometimes done for the betterment of people, but were otherwise illegal.
The description was top notch, and it really immerses the reader into the story. Here’s an example: “The ocotillo bushes around me undulated, obeying an invisible hand. As the wind skated along the river break it whistled, low and persistent and spectral, like a phantom’s moan. My teeth chattered.”
Another huge plus for this story is dialogue. The author sometimes used colorful dialogue to cement the West Texas setting. Here’s an example: “If brains were hog lard you couldn’t have used his to grease a big skillet.”
Actually, my only criticism comes near the end of the story. At the climax, and shortly thereafter, there are some pretty big reveals. I had a hard time accepting them in the spirit of believability.
Lastly, the story was well edited and told at a good pace.
In conclusion, I thought The Bones of Amoret to be unique, enjoyable, and sometimes very hard to put down. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good thriller!
(US Only. Ends midnight, CDT, 4/15/2022.).
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