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Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Uncomplicated, heart-warming and very positive story. (Review by Keith Millar)

The Last Road Trip is Gareth Crocker’s fifth novel in as many years, and once again he has produced a winner. It is an uncomplicated, heart-warming and very positive story.

Four residents of a retirement estate, two men and two women, have become firm friends. They have all been rather successful in life and are, on the face of it, fairly content, despite the rather rigid rules and regulations imposed on them by the estate management.

However, in reality, they are all troubled by ghosts of their past. They have regrets about business left unfinished and youthful follies they indulged in.

Then another resident of the estate passes away and leaves a message suggesting that no-one should carry regrets with them to the grave and that while they are alive there is still time to resolve matters, or at least to try.

This galvanises the friends to abandon their dull lives at the retirement estate and to embark on an epic 1,000 kilometre road trip which takes them to the Kruger National Park and then on to Cape Town via a few of the fascinating small towns in the Karoo.

Along the way, they experience many remarkable adventures as they face up to the issues that have been haunting them. Not only are they able to make peace with the past, but they discover that there is still plenty to live for.

The Last Road Trip does not have a complicated plot. The story is very much driven by its characters - and it is in this area that Gareth Crocker shows his skill as a writer. He has created well-rounded, three dimensional, and very likable characters. They are warm and caring and show great support for each other during the emotional ups and downs they experience on their journey.

Crocker’s narrative of the unique places the friends visit, and the events they experience, is atmospheric and moving. I am sure more than one reader will add Sutherland to their bucket list after his wonderful description of the night sky in that area.

The Last Road Trip is an enjoyable adventure tale with, perhaps not unsurprisingly, a bit of a love story woven into it. It is written in a concise but very eloquent style, which makes this feel-good novel an easy and satisfying read.

The Last Road Trip is published by Penguin Books (South Africa). The ISBN Number is 9780143531579 and the recommended retail price is R190. – Keith Millar