The Cuts that Cure by Arthur Herbert

5 Minutes Reading Time

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Dark and deeply chilling, Herbert leads his tragic hero down a twisting trail through the underbelly of the Texas border. Memorable characters and vivid descriptions make this simmering suspense story a strong debut.

Joel Shulkin, MD, author of Adverse Effects.
Book cover The Cuts that Cure by Albert Herbert

Language: English

Print Length: 298 pages

Text-to-Speech | Screen Reader | Enhanced Typesetting | Word Wise | Unlimited Device Sharing

Publication Date: 11 May 2021

Categories: Western Horror Fiction | Medical Fiction | United States Dramas and Plays

Trigger Warnings: Violence | Death | Profanity | Deity Swears | Depression | Suicide

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Arthur Herbert grew up in a small town in Texas. He worked various jobs before going to medical school to train as a surgeon. He then did a fellowship in critical care and trauma surgery.  He is still running a thriving practice. 

The Cuts that Cure is his first novel, published by White Bird Publishing in May 2021. He is already working on his second novel. He has also published two short stories: Sisters and Mister B’s Goodbye.

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Summary

Alex Brantley

While I don’t know what’s going on down in the core of this man-child, the one thing I do know is the son of a bitch can operate. Progression to graduation approved.”

Herbert, Arthur. The Cuts That Cure (Kindle Locations 383-384). White Bird Publications, LLC. 

Life hasn’t been good for Alex Brantley. After completing his surgical residency, he is left with a mountain of student debt.  He struggled to find work at private practices due to the red flags raised in his final evaluation. His only option is short-term, temporary assignments, which leaves him unable to pay back his student debt. After ten years of long hours and endless fatigue, he wants out. After a failed suicide attempt and psychiatric treatment, he re-educates himself to become a teacher.

He manages to find a job as a science teacher and apply for bankruptcy, hoping to have his student debt bundled into the claim because of his inability to repay this debt. But the court denies his application and recommends that he goes back to surgical residency to service his debt. 

Also Read:  Room 119 by TF Lince

When he is named in a lawsuit regarding the suicide of one of his students, Alex is offered a solution that he cannot refuse. But will the price be too high for him to pay?

Harry Wallis

Harry Wallis is different from other kids. It is why he became adept at crafting a persona acceptable to the world. At age four, Henry fell off a horse. Although the doctors said there would be no long-term effects, he cannot help but wonder if that made him different. 

His mother only discovers his true nature at the age of ten. It started when Henry decided he wants a rabbit and uses all his money to buy one from the pet store. 

Entering a clearing, she saw a rabbit in a wire cage, suspended by a coat hanger looped over a low-lying tree branch. The cage sat just a few inches above a small fire that was the source of the smoke. The animal was hurling itself in an agonal frenzy against the wire walls, trying in vain to escape as it slowly burned to death. 

Herbert, Arthur. The Cuts That Cure (Kindle Locations 321-323). White Bird Publications, LLC. 

She never looked at him the same way again. Even though she took him to a child psychiatrist, what she wanted was normalcy, not solutions. So, Henry made sure that he kept up appearances, and his mother pretended everything was fine with Henry.

But in his teenage years, Henry decided to acts once again on his urges. He meticulously planned to and killed a homeless person in a park. Despite all his planning and nearly getting away with it, Detective Lozano does manage to prove his guilt. But Henry commits suicide. I had to wonder: did he do it because he couldn’t face the consequences of his actions? Or because he thought in this way he wins – because Detective Lazano can’t arrest him for his crime?

What did I like?

We see two actual storylines in the narrative. Alex, ex-surgeon and now science teacher. And Henry, the child with dark urges, showing a normal appearance to the world. For the most part, it just seems like two separate storylines with not much interaction between the two characters. But Henry’s suicide changes everything. It sets in motion a series of events that lead Alex down a path that he is not sure he should follow. 

Also Read:  This much Huxley knows by Gail Aldwin

And not so much?

A pet peeve of mine is when an author uses dialogue in different languages without translations. Although it can affect the pacing and flow of the story to insert translations, it leaves the reader with two options: either ignore those parts of the dialogue and take the risk of missing something important. Or search in your browser for a translation. It is not always practical on many devices, especially if it happens often in the novel. I much rather see translations in brackets in the book itself.

Should you read it?

I do recommend reading The Cuts that Cure. We experience Alex’s anguish when life doesn’t go his way, leading to his suicide attempt. After his treatment, we associate with his struggle to find his feet in a new town and repay his student debt.  He starts to make new friends, never knowing that they will offer a solution to his problems in an unexpected way. A solution that you just think has to come back to haunt him in some way. It is a book where the hero turns out to be a villain.

I recommend this book to readers who like psychological thrillers with a twist. Other books you might enjoy are The Cure by K.J Kalis or the Gina Mazzio RN Series by Bette & JJ Lamb.

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Meet Susan

Susan van der Walt is an avid reader of genres like crime, thrillers, adventure, and true stories. On Read or Rot she shares her favourite books and quotes with you. She also writes articles, book reviews and book recommendations. She lives in Alberton (South Africa) with her husband, Warrick, and fur baby, Pixie.

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