Serbu, Damian. “The Bachmann Family Secret”, NineStar, 2020.
An Escape into the Mysterious
I always look forward to a new book by Damian Serbu, especially on a rainy afternoon when I am stuck in the house. Serbu has the ability to make my mind take in so much that I seldom think about and an escape into the mysterious is always welcome.
We meet Jaret Bachmann and his family as they preparing to go from Colorado to Nebraska his grandfather’s funeral. Jaret is quite upset; he loved his grandfather but when they arrive at the family home, he feels something strange, there seems to be something evil there. Jaret can see ghosts but no one believes him. If that is not enough, Jaret is also dealing with his sexuality as well as the loss of the family patriarch and he feels the need to both protect his family from some unseen horror an what he is internally dealing with. As most of us have experienced, it is not easy, at first, to accept that we are different from the mainstream and Jaret really does not know how to deal with what he feels. He wants to be accepted by his family but he is also aware how they feel about fitting in.
The specter of his dead grandfather told him not to return to the family home but he has no other option and so he can only hope that things will work out. He soon. Realizes that his grandfather was right since there is something there that tells them that the family is not welcome. On a trip into town, Jaret meets Steve and he can speak freely to him, something he has been rarely able to do. It is with Steve’s help that he has able to uncoverthe mystery at his grandfather’s home before it they are all destroyed.
The grandfather’s death affects the family in many ways but especially Jaret who has always had problems with his folks. When his grandfather’s ghost appears and tries to warn him against going to Nebraska for the funeral, he feels powerless, knowing that he cannot argue with his father. Once they arrive at the house in Nebraska, Jaret sees another apparition that looks like his grandfather yet has a pervasive sense of evil. While they are there, secrets come out, things disappear and the family is upset by a funeral that did not go well.
We realize that while this is a mystery, there is a larger theme of family throughout the story. Steve is the catalyst for Jaret to accept himself as both of them come to terms with their sexualities. When they are caught together making-out, we really understand how difficult life has been for Jaret. Life would have been so much better for him if his family would listen to him. We listen and learn quite a sad story about the house and its paranormal residents. We cannot help but root for Jaret and what we learn about the ghost’s intentions is surprising— it is sure that homosexuality is wrong and must be erased but we do not know why until later. Whether or not Jaret succeeds is for you to find out when you read the book.