Review of, The Bones Of Amoret, by Arthur Herbert

I hope you’re all doing well on this Sunday morning at the tail end of summer. Yesterday, we did our annual apple picking road trip with a side of pumpkin harvesting. I can already smell ghosts of future apple crisp and pumpkin pie baking in the oven.

But from the post’s title, you can see that I’m not here to talk about pie. So, let’s get started, shall we?

What’s it About?

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.

My take:

The entire book is written in first person, Noah’s, with a folksy, “come sit on the porch for a spell,” narration. I found it quite appealing, almost endearing, in fact.

In his late eighties at the telling, Noah is a man conflicted and remorseful about the past . . . the moral fiber of his character is subjective, which for me, made him all the more realistic.  Personally, I think he’s a man with good intentions, but things just often got out of hand.

As the blurb suggests, there are some great plot twists, none of which I found to be “edge of your seat”, but well orchestrated with a bit of, “Gotcha!”

The writing style was river rock smooth, with plenty of creative slang that brought a smile.

I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy a good mystery under the backdrop of ‘Big sky’ country.

Meet Arthur:

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.

His second novel, The Bones of Amoret, is set to be released on April 1, 2022 through Stitched Smile Publishers.

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.

Grab a copy:

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Awe . . . the pitter-patter!

Just sitting here this fine morning remembering some shenanigans, yes, shenanigans . . . wait, am I on Facebook? Never mind, I’ll keep the word. As I was saying, thinking way back yonder to some of the crazy things the kiddos did.

This particular incident happened during the month of, “Brrrr!!”

That’s what some of us Canadians (or maybe it’s just me), call February because it’s easier to pronounce with chattering teeth.

“Brrrr!,” typically has temperatures somewhere north of -30 degrees Celsius, that’s about -22 Fahrenheit for our southern neighbors.

Now, the exact transgression of Isabel, our youngest, escapes me. Perhaps she’d zigzagged a pen across big sister, Amanda’s, latest fridge art, or Picasso’d her sibling’s prized teddy bear with a Sharpie and had coerced our cat, Marble, into upholding the Law of Omerta.

Being the sole adult in the domicile that evening, I sentenced her to a ‘time out’ in The Corner.  No doubt, in that cozy little triangle of contemplation, she reflected with great remorse on the “heinous” doings.

The Kleenex budget was yanked into the red, by the fistful. The boxes emptied, Big Sis’ dabbed the last raindrops from her cheeks and glared at the condemned before stomping to her upstairs bedroom.   

Isabel was paroled after three minutes, one minute per year of age . . . that seemed to be the accepted formula back then. She boldly stepped across the perimeter of the invisible box and wonder of wonders! Knew that formula worked! Never a doubt.

“I’m a changed girl. Sorry for what I’d done. Yessir. Nope, never lift a pinky against Amanda again . . . except to love her to pieces.”

 A hug of reconciliation? Oh, okay . . . I suppose since you both just stuck out your tongues at the same time we’ll just call it a draw. Yes, head on back to your bedroom wall finger painting, Amanda. I’m glad to see that you’ve chosen oil based.   

Satisfied for the skirmish was over, I elected to empty the garbage can and bring the bag to the lidded garbage bin in the garage. We don’t have trash pickup in these here parts, so we keep it in there until I can drive it to the dump.

I had to sidestep little Miss Golden Hair Ringlets, as I descended the two steps into the coat room that opened to the garage.

The garage had no working vehicle door at that time, so every cubic square of air was jam packed with icicle-toothed no-see-um’s, that surged in via that gaping maw from the tar black country night. Even the moon and the stars had fled these lands, and the overhead fluorescent lights, forcibly confined, had chosen hibernation.

The garbage bin was just outside the coatroom door, so I slipped on my crocs, left the coat to rest on the hook . . . my pj’s would suffice for the short trip. Great move, right, professor?

The last thing I saw, just before closing the door, was the cherub faced shenaniger (repurposed for this post). Those beautiful, blonde, curly cues framed an adorable smile as she waved to me from the upper step. “Good luck.”

You bet, another brilliant move, Holmes.

I stepped into the garage and quickly shut the door behind me to keep out Jack Frost’s invisible minions. Good Luck?

I shall never forget the heart melting pitter-patter of little feet across the coat room floor, seconds before the click of the lock being engaged.

Yes, Mary, here, let me pour you another glass of Perrier and imagine how splendid it will always be! Is the baby kicking? Hmmm . . . maybe she’s trying to tell us something?

Sorry, back to the story. Faced with becoming an ice sculpture, I diplomatically begged, nay, cried, for the young lady to open the door. Awe, there’s that adorable giggle.

Mind you, there was a spare key, but that would mean crawling over piles of half finished projects, just waiting for the chance to maim. Pay back for being relegated to the land of misfits.   

I yelled for Amanda, who was, by that time, probably in the bathroom using the ‘good towels’ to clean the paint off her fingers.

Welp, nothing for it but to go cross country. Thankfully the wall to my left was clear of debris, so I followed it and ran for the front lawn. The front door was unlocked, I remembered that much. Now, if I was a snow hare, the trip would have been quick and painless.

But people aren’t snow hares, and when crocs hit the crunchy top layer of “Brrr!” snow, well, they crash the party until they hit rock bottom. About knee deep in this case. The ice moles were less than pleased, but the no-see-um’s had a banquet.

Yep, every step was like slogging through a freshly poured slushy, sans the sweetness and color. Well, maybe the color, because we owned a dog.

The worst part was passing the bay window, just after both of my crocs abandoned me. I witnessed a mass of golden ringlets flying past the windowsill, headed straight for the front door.

Oh, Mary, listen! Is it my imagination, or can you also hear the pitter-patter and the giggles?

Oh no, you don’t! She did. Click!

If you’ve ever seen Fred Flintstone pounding on the door after Dino locked him outside, you’ll get the idea of what happened next.

No giggling now . . . just a thumb in that grinning mouth. The other hand was busy with the necessary work of twirling those ringlets into coils.

When telling this story, someone once commented that I should be embarrassed at being outrun by a three year old. Um, beg pardon? You do realize that those suckers can move with the speed of a velociraptor over open ground, right buddy? I swear they make the same noises, too. At least when they’re racing for a prized toy . . . you know the sound, that guttural squeal, “Miiiinnnneeee!” Or maybe it’s more like Chewbacca?

I owe my digits to Amanda for coming to the rescue, though I only use one on each hand to type.

She moved in like a gift shop sized King Kong! Nothing violent, just blocked her sister and opened the door.

That was a decade ago, and it’s a funny tale now, but not so much at the time. Don’t get me wrong, both my daughters are loving and kind.

I really don’t think a three-year-old can conceive of the dangers of locking someone outside mid-winter. But nonetheless, I now always wear my winter coat and boots when taking out the trash. 😊  

Liberty

Jeff tripped on a rock, stubbing his toe, and almost dropping Liberty.

“Don’t worry, I’ve got you,” he promised the Bold. “I’m sorry but it’s time for you to go. The fog’s rolled in and that will help you escape Crusher. Please don’t cry, don’t be afraid. Liberty will take you far away. She’s a great ship. My Grandpa and I made her.”

The lump in Jeff’s throat felt bigger than a jawbreaker candy. He should know because he almost swallowed one, once. It was one of the scariest things in his life, almost as scary as Crusher.

Jeff reached the edge of Pine Grove Bay, and gently slipped the driftwood ship into the still water. He took the yellow nylon rope and watched as a gentle breeze pushed against the cloth sails, carrying the good people towards the bigger waters of Gull Lake. He smiled and waved, hoping that it would calm them down, as they begged him not to let go of the rope.

Wherever they ended up, it would be better than here. Better than the everyday meanness from Crusher. That monster loved to torment the Bold. He hated their art, said it was just as ugly as they were, just before he would wreck it. He took their money so they couldn’t buy food and threatened a beating should they tell anyone. Jeff had to make sure that he’d never let the beast see Liberty.

Jeff knew what the word ‘bold’ meant, but he was too afraid to stand up against Crusher, who was a lot bigger than him. He’d felt ashamed and after a while, he’d gone to the King and Queen to plead for help for the Bold.

But the King said that The Crusher was really just a coward and that it was up to Jeff to fight him off. The Queen said that sometimes there are just monsters, and they build something called character.

Jeff didn’t see it that way. He let the rope go and plugged his ears against the cries of the Bold. His eyes blurred with tears as he watched them go. One of the Bold jumped overboard, he was splashing in the water . . . no, drowning!

Jeff ran into the cold water, not worried about getting his clothes soaked. He scooped up the little man who immediately yelled, “What about Princess Carlan? She’ll help! She believes in us!”

“Um, I don’t know—”

“Yes! Princess Carlan! Take us back, Jeff! We don’t want to go!” The Bolds on the ship yelled.

Jeff was frightened but he thought that this might be the right thing to do, so he grabbed the rope and brought Liberty back to shore. Everyone cheered!

Jeff went back to the palace. The Queen wasn’t happy to see him soaking wet. She told him that he’d be late for school and that Miss Carlan would not want such a mess in her classroom.

Jeff quickly changed and set Liberty back on his dresser. He grabbed his backpack while his stomach twisted into knots.

He hurried down the sidewalk, his legs feeling evermore like cooked spaghetti with each step. But Princess Carlan was so nice. She’d always said he was smart, a good artist, and that his stories took her places, whatever that meant. She would help, he had to believe that.

The open doors to Gull Lake Elementary were bigger than a Blue Whale’s mouth, but at least there was no sign of Crusher.

Jeff closed his eyes and took a deep breath. It was time to be brave; it was time to ask his teacher help.

Review of, The Reckoning: A Time Travel Thriller(Book One of the Series), by D.M. Taylor

Well, it’s day three of quarantine and that nasty little COVID bug still has me holed up in our office/bedroom. But hey, it’s not all bad. This thing feels like a minor cold, and I’ve been able to get plenty of writing and reading done. Speaking of which, I’m pleased to share my latest read and it’s a good one!

The Details:

If Katniss Everdeen had a PhD in Quantum Physics she’d be a perfect fit in Dr. Taden Barrett’s world of time travel.
Can Taden’s technology save her country or will she make a choice that even time travel can’t undo?

My Thoughts:

I’m not a habitual reader of science fiction . . . but wow! This book was a literary riptide that didn’t release me until the final word. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I’ve been fascinated with time travel since I knew how to read a clock.

Aside from the thrilling and 3 g-force plot twists, I believe this story appeals to the sentimentalist in most of us. If it were possible, who among us wouldn’t entertain at least the thought of returning to our past and righting a wrong, or spending one last time with a deceased loved one?

True to most tales that deal with time travel, there are caveats about interfering with the past, though not so disastrous as the destruction of the universe.

Taylor has built well rounded, strong, intelligent, and resilient male and female characters that keep things moving at a fluid pace.

The only issue I found, and this is just my personal opinion of course, was the occasional use of parenthesis. Yes, I know it’s just me being picky, but I’m not a fan of them in books. I just want you to know that they are used sparingly and in no way interfered with my enjoyment of this book. I definitely have my eye on the next one in the series.

FIVE STARS!

Please note that I do not post reviews of books that I deem to be less than four stars. Life’s too short, and if I don’t enjoy the read, I simply won’t finish it.

Meet D.M. Taylor

D.M. Taylor is a full-time writer with a constant desire to be at the beach or as close to a combination of: water, sand, and sunshine as she can. You can tell by looking at all of the freckles she has collected as evidence.

If she’s not writing in her tiny cottage by the lake, then it’s not summer. The rest of the year, she’s writing on her couch under blankets near a giant bay window. On the less romantic days of writing, and let’s be real–most of them, her pages come together while waiting in a car for one of her kids–as part of her chauffeur gig.

Her gravitational pull to science fiction, developed throughout her teacher training; where she concentrated on science education. Graduating from Michigan Tech with an Applied Science Master’s Degree jumpstarted her geeky interests. An obsession of time travel pushed through her romantic notions of the world and the easy fear she holds of anything frightening. Together, these elements created a writer of: sci-fi thrillers who sprinkles in a bit of slow burn.

Accruing in her head is a checklist of places to travel, items to accomplish, and book ideas to write.

She regenerates from deep conversation, dancing, and laughter.

Connect with her and grab your copy:

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