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Waypoint Kangaroo
Curtis C. Chen
Thomas Dunne Books, 2016


Waypoint Kangaroo is a science fiction adventure/thriller set in a post-dystopian future... and to be honest, it's still a bit dystopian. It also has overtones of superhero fiction, as the hero does have a superpower.

Kangaroo is a spy with a unique ability. For reasons no one can fathom, he has a transdimensional portal that he can open and close at will, allowing him to store any number of items in an alternate universe. The US government uses him mostly for smuggling, and only for the most sensitive items. This is a great gig, but Kangaroo is not really temperamentally suited to spycraft, being young, impulsive, and generally a nice guy. Case in point, he probably shouldn't have fired a government issue EMP lance in rural Kazakhstan, or gone back to save the cop whose pacemaker he accidentally EMP'd. Having rendered his mission insufficiently covert, he's in trouble... as much trouble as the government's single most valuable secret agent can be, anyway.

That much trouble, it turns out, is an all-expense paid trip on the solar system's premier cruise ship. This is perfect, since it will effectively cut him off from all communication with all projects while things blow over, and there is absolutely no way he can get in trouble on an interplanetary cruise liner. He's not thrilled, but it is free, and there's lots of booze.

Obviously, he gets in lots and lots of trouble. It turns out that there is psychopathic murderer on board, and at least one (hint, more than one) other spy on board, and smuggled goods in the cargo hold, and smuggled government tech in Kangaroo, and a surprisingly diverse range of fancy alcoholic beverages, all of which will come into play before anyone even figures out what is going on.

This is a fun, light science fiction adventure, being sometimes serious, having a fair share of hard science, and not shying away from violence and death. It was a hard line to walk, but Curtis Chen managed it. While I am not a big reader of spy fiction, I think there is a good chance that Waypoint Kangaroo holds its own in that area as well, although it certainly is not to be found in the spy/thriller section of your library. There is currently only one other novel following the adventures of Kangaroo, Kangaroo Too.

SFQ 3019

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