Treasure and Treachery on the Mendocino Coast

Like the best young adult fiction and fantasy, Closer to My Home gives us a lot to think about. It takes the world we know and adds the world that we might suspect—a preternatural one that lends to an already unpredictable life an element of the fantastical and of infinite possibility.

Set on California’s Mendocino coast, Closer to My Home is about a regular family whose lives take a turn for the irregular. Wyatt Horstmann mysteriously inherits a house on this wild coast and when his son, Matt, discovers an antique coin within the bowels of a peculiar fish he’s caught, the family begins to search for other valuable relics. A series of dreams—experienced by Wyatt, his wife Sherry, and Matt—lure them to a forbidding sea cavern, and it’s here that they enter a timeless, spiritual world and begin to learn about Dr. Horstmann’s dark ancestor, the ruthless pirate, Francis McCabe.

A hundred-year-old curse has shaped the circumstances and fate of the Horstmanns: all descendants of Captain McCabe must pay the ultimate price and Wyatt Horstmann is the next in line. But Matt, through courage and wit, manages to ally his family with the spirits of the grotto and, by eliminating the source of their discontent, redirects the apparitions toward a peaceful, undisturbed eternity.

But the Horstmanns aren’t out of the dark cave yet. The evil spirit of McCabe hunts them down and brings havoc into their lives and the lives of those close to them. Young Matt pursues McCabe relentlessly after the specter abducts his girlfriend, and through serendipitous circumstances the two succeed in escaping his wrath. The family decides to flee McCabe and their home. They plan to take to the sea for a long vacation so that Wyatt Horstmann can visit his old haunts and uncover more about the nefarious pirate so as to eventually subdue him.

Closer to My Home takes us on a perilous adventure into the past and present. It’s about family and struggles and the mysterious hold the past has on us. It’s also about the sea and the enigmatic people who have spent their lives roaming it and living on it.

Francis Hertzog is a retired physician and an instructor in health occupations at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California. He lives in Nipomo, California, with his wife and three children.


Closer to My Home
A Novel
by Francis Hertzog
ISBN 1-56474-416-7
160 pages, paperback, $14.95

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