In this tale, a traveler equivocates about whether to accept an all-expenses paid trip with his family, then must deal with the questions arising from his decision.
As the story opens, Darren Dallavalle is returning from Africa where he took a raft trip from Victoria Falls down the Zambezi River, then traveled to Mozambique and Zanzibar. As he considers his drive home from the airport to the small town of Columbia, Colorado, he relates that he has now hit every continent two or three times, including an “ill-fated Antarctica trip with that research vessel sailing out of Buenos Aires … its engine suddenly biting the big one on the way back…”
Clearly, Darren isn’t one for vacations promising comfort and ease. Then, his cousin calls to tell him that their exceedingly wealthy uncle wants to take the nieces and nephews on a cruise. Darren immediately declines, but then agrees to consider it. As he ponders the offer, friends and family proffer their opinions, which fall into two categories: he’s a fool if he doesn’t accept the generous invitation, or he’s compromising his independence if he does. As the story unfolds, readers learn how his decision plays out.
This is an interesting story built largely on Darren’s past travels and family history. His tales are colorful, though they can come across as boastful, and, in one instance, oddly cold as Darren describes the “Lowlight” [sic] from a trip. “Me and this whole group of people witnessed a guy get killed by multiple blows to his head with a hammer,” followed by humorous Dragnet quotes.
Additionally, the author often relies on common clichés, and his frequent use of italics can be distracting and puzzling.
Nevertheless, the plot delivers with Darren finding fresh insight into the world of travel and why some like it risky and some need it safe, resulting in a story likely to be enjoyed by readers who appreciate travel tales and tricky family dynamics.
Also available in hardcover.