About The Bones of Amoret
Book Title: The Bones of Amoret – A Novel by Arthur Herbert
Category: Adult Fiction 18+, 320 pages
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Publisher: Stitched Smile Publications
Release Date: April 2022
Content Rating: PG-13 – no sex, explicit or otherwise; almost all violence is off-screen; mild profanity
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.
He’s won multiple awards for his scientific writing, and his first novel, The Cuts that Cure, spent ten days as an Amazon #1 Best Seller. His second novel, The Bones of Amoret, will be released on April 1, 2022 through Stitched Smile Publishers. Arthur currently lives in New Orleans, with his wife Amy and their dogs.
Interview with Arthur Herbert about
Since your first book has been produced in audiobook, have you made any adjustments in your writing style to enhance the listening experience for your audiobook audience in THE BONES OF AMORET.
One of the most consistent facets of my writing that reviewers and readers comment on is the sense of atmosphere I create. Both my debut, The Cuts that Cure, and my present novel, The Bones of Amoret, take place in the border regions of the Texas deserts, and when I go back and re-read snippets of the books it seems like the landscape is almost another character. The real benefit this has for the listener is my choice of narrator. My publisher and I auditioned sixteen narrators for The Cuts that Cure, and Victor Warren, a professional voice actor, was head and shoulders above everyone else. It’s funny because he’s from Massachusetts, but when it came to turning on his Texas accent, he sounds like pure Matthew McConaughey. It was a no-brainer to invite him back to narrate The Bones of Amoret.
Bones was more challenging for him, though, because of the book’s set up. The story is set in the present day, where a reporter is interviewing the main character, Noah, about events that happened in the town of Amoret, Texas, in 1982. Therefore, Noah is 84 years old, recounting events that occurred when he was in his mid-40s. As a result, Victor chose to give modern-day Noah an old man’s vocal warbles while young Noah speaks in a strong, clear voice. He did a great job with it. The whole time I was writing Noah, I pictured Sam Elliott, and when you listen to the book, Victor really nailed it. His voice draws you in, bringing the characters to life. If you’d like to hear some of Victor’s other work, click HERE.
What aspects in a book make it a good mystery and what does not?
It’s funny but in the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, the Detection Club (of which Agatha Christie and G.K. Chesterson were members) actually promulgated a set of standards that addressed this very question. Originally crafted by Ronald Knox, a Catholic priest, they’re dated but worth reproducing as it gives a historical perspective on the roots of the genre. Knox’s Ten Commandments, as they’re known, were:
- The criminal must be someone mentioned in the early part of the story but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to follow.
- All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.
- Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable.
- No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end.
- No Chinaman must figure in the story (I said they were dated).
- No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.
- The detective must not himself commit the crime.
- The detective must not light on any clues which are not instantly produced for the inspection of the reader.
- The stupid friend of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal any thoughts which pass through his mind; his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly, below that of the average reader.
- Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.
Obviously, these rules have all gone on to be broken in the century since their creation, but the only one that I still feel should prevail is the prohibition on supernatural explanations as a solution to the mystery. That just feels like cheating because, well, I guess it is.
My personal favorite sub-genre is the locked room mystery. In fact, I’m taking a stab at that with my third novel. I’m about 15,000 words into it now and don’t have a working title yet, but so far it seems like it’s working. I have to say, my all-time personal favorite is probably Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. Murder in the Mews isn’t far behind.
What advice would you offer to audiobook readers when listening to a mystery?
I started listening to Audible two years ago when my wife bought me a subscription as a birthday present, and I have to admit at the time, I kind of had to plaster a smile on my face when she gave it to me. It just didn’t seem like it would be able to take the place of holding a physical book, you know? I’ve always loved that fresh smell of the pages when you first open a new book up, and the tension in your hands as you break the spine. As with most things in our married life, though, I’ve come to find she was right. It’s just so darn convenient because now I can listen on the go. I listen to novels while exercising or grocery shopping. I listen while driving to work or cooking a meal. I would estimate that easily 80% of my “reading” is now done with my ears. Further, I’ve found that I can listen at about 1.4x speed without having the narrator start to sound like a chipmunk, so I get through books more quickly. Audible is just really hard to beat.
With this listening pattern, though, what I get in convenience I give up in atmosphere. Therefore, if circumstances allow, I try to make it an immersive experience. For me, that means going into my library, closing the door, and turning down the lights. It takes the enjoyment to another level because I have minimal stimuli to distract me, and the low lighting sets the mood. Amazon TV has several channels dedicated to weather sounds, so I can put on thunderstorms, blizzards, or crickets at sundown for background noise that’s just barely perceptible behind the narrator’s voice. Man, that’s the good stuff.
Thank you so much for stopping by Arthur Herbert! Hope to see you again soon!
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