– in Western Horror Fiction
From its attention-grabbing first sentence, The Cuts that Cure is a truly extraordinary novel as Arthur Herbert- a surgeon himself- shows why he is one of the most exciting new voices in the suspense genre.
Alex Brantley is a surgeon whose desperation to start a new life outside of medicine leads him to settle in a sleepy Texas town close to the Mexican border, a town that has a dark side. Its secrets and his own past catch up with him as traits he thought he’d buried in the deserts on the frontiers of the border rise up again to haunt him.
To the citizens of Three Rivers, Henry Wallis appears to be a normal Texas teenager: a lean, quiet kid from a good family whose life seems to center around running cross-country, his first girlfriend, and Friday night football. That Henry is a cultivated illusion, however, a disguise he wears to conceal his demons. Both meticulous and brutally cruel, he manages to hide his sadistic indulgences from the world, but with that success, his impulses grow stronger until one day when a vagrant is found murdered.
When Alex and Henry’s paths cross, it starts a domino effect which leads to mangled lives and chilling choices made in the shadows along la frontera, where everything is negotiable.
Most of us wish the best for our families. The Brantley family was no exception and when their son Alex graduated from medical school they were overjoyed. Being a doctor, especially a surgeon in the United States, usually means a prosperous life for the graduate. The problem is that the work is not always glamorous.
Alex Brantley has discovered that his chosen profession is a continuous grind. Working in the emergency room of a major metropolitan hospital means working with anyone who comes in. Gunshot wounds and children with broken bones who apparently “are accident prone,” begin to take a heavy toll on ones’ mental stability. Saving the victim is often met with disdain because you could have done better.
The tipping point comes when a particularly battered boy comes into the emergency room and Dr. Brantley is faced with sewing him up. X-rays show old healed fractures and broken bones. The parents explain that he is accident prone and they do everything to protect their boy. One particular bruise is of a steel toed cowboy boot at the point of impact causing the injury. Alex is furious. Vandalizing the fathers’ car gets him arrested and his license is suspended.
He has had all he can take as a surgeon. He applies for a job as a science teacher in a small Texas town. They are happy to have him as the new teacher but his duties will also include assisting with the cross-country track team. Far away from the rigors of twelve-hour surgery shifts Alex starts his new life. His best runner is a young man named Harvey Wallis. Harvey is a loner but an excellent runner.
Sociopaths take many forms and sometimes start at a very young age. Harvey’s parents find him with a young rabbit over a campfire. He is enjoying watching the poor animals’ struggles as it tries to flee the terrible heat. Harvey is required to get help from a psychiatrist but there is little progress made. Harvey has no moral compass and simply revels in watching others in pain.
Medical school is very expensive and Alex has been left with a $350,000 student loan debt. As a teacher he will never be able to service the debt. How can he get by with the debt and low salary? One of the towns’ successful businessmen decides to help Alex and takes him under his wing. The source of the cash flow enjoyed by this businessman is remarkable.
This well written tale is a roadmap for life’s trials and obstacles. Enjoy the narrative and experience the twists. 5 stars – CE Williams
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and these are my unbiased opinions.
Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars
Genre: Western Horror Fiction, US Drama and Plays, Medical Fiction
Publisher: White Bird Publications, LLC
Print Length: 298 pages
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
Title Link: The Cuts That Cure [Amazon]
Barnes and Noble
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. He chose to do a residency in general surgery, followed by a fellowship in critical care and trauma surgery. For the last seventeen 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 debut novel, The Cuts that Cure, launched on May 11, 2021 through White Bird Publishing in Austin Texas. He’s begun work on his second novel.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
©2021 V Williams