A well-paced thriller that explores the full spectrum of humanity


The Bones of Amoret

Arthur Herbert

Stitched Smile Publications

ASIN: ‎ B09SFP64Q9, 431 pgs.

February 13, 2022

The Bones of Amoret is a small-town thriller with great action, great description, and a cast worthy of a reader’s interest.

The story is set in the small West Texas town of Amoret, near the Mexico border. The action of the story takes place over the span of several days in 1982, but it is told in a rather unique way.  An El Paso newspaper wants to write an article on the fortieth anniversary of that span of days, so the book’s protagonist, Dr. Noah “Doc” Grady, recounts the story to the reporter. The first-person narrative gives the story the feel of the character speaking directly to the reader. Noah interjects his personal insights to the actions of those days throughout the story, and he sometimes speaks directly to the reporter, like when he apologizes for language or compares values from the 1980s to the current 2020s.

Doc is highly respected in the community, including among the illegal immigrants. In fact, Doc periodically helps groups of illegals safely cross the border and provides free medical care after they arrive.  As Doc tells the reporter, “I was raised to believe there were the laws of God and the laws of man, and when the two conflicted, the former should win out, period.” On one occasion, Doc provides help to a young drug runner, who would have died in the desert if Doc didn’t intervene. This action, however, had the potential of being rewarded with violence, when the drug traffickers go to tie up any loose ends in their business.

Around this same time, Blaine Beckett, a local divinity professor married to Noah’s former love interest, goes missing. As the sheriff begins to investigate and fingers start being pointed, Noah can’t help but be one of the suspects.

All of these events come to a conclusion in the span of several days, and it takes Dr. Noah Grady the remainder of the story to explain what really happened.

In addition to the wonderful use of first-person narrative, the characters are the vehicles that drive the story home. For example, Sheriff Lloyd McHenry upholds the law in Amoret. His only agenda is the truth, yet he’s willing to look the other way if some things, for the greater good of humanity, are being done.  As he tells it to one of the other characters, “Long as you don’t go takin’ away my plausible deniability, what happens down by the river stays by the river far as I’m concerned.”

To further hone the story, author Arthur Herbert applies his skills in writing descriptions that put the reader into the scene. “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.”

Additionally, Herbert’s use of dialogue adds more than a little flavor of West Texas to the story, as is illustrated in this assessment of a character’s intelligence: “If brains were hog lard you couldn’t have used his to grease a big skillet.”

The action of the story is told at a consistent pace, despite the laid-back atmosphere of the town. And when appropriate, the author interjected known events to convey a sense of time.  In one scene, Doc cut the ribbon to open a clinic about a month before they released the hostages in Iran, and in another, he explained that one of the characters died recently of COVID-19.

The Bones of Amoret is a well-paced thriller that explores the full spectrum of humanity, from evil to righteous, holding readers in suspense until the very end. The story is authentic with all the nuances and spirit of small-town Texas. Don’t miss it.

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. He chose to do a residency in general surgery, followed by a fellowship in critical care and trauma surgery. 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. Arthur currently lives in New Orleans, with his wife Amy and their dogs. Arthur loves hearing from readers, so don’t hesitate to email him at arthur@arthurherbertwriter.com