"Kangaroo Too"

Secret agent Kangaroo returns for another zippy and suspenseful adventure set in the future in Curtis Chen’s entertaining sci-fi thriller “Kangaroo Too.”

Readers of last year’s “Waypoint Kangaroo” will recall that Kangaroo has a seemingly magical ability to open a portal into a pocket universe. He can open the pocket universe to store items and retrieve them – an ability that makes it easy to smuggle things into and out of dangerous places. This effectively makes Kangaroo a super agent. It also supplies a handy subplot for the Kangaroo series: what is the nature of Kangaroo’s power and is it possible to destroy it?

After surviving a failed assassination attempt, Kangaroo goes on a secret mission to the moon in the company of his physician, Jessica Chu. They are meeting a woman named Clementine, who may know some important information. She wants gold in exchange, and only Kangaroo can smuggle the gold to her.

The situation is complicated when Jessica is arrested for the murder of a lunar employee and refuses to tell Kangaroo about it. Exonerating camera footage disappears. A terror attack interrupts communication and movement across the moon. And to top it off, the moon is preparing for a celebration of the anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing with thousands of tourists. Crowds of people are everywhere. Kangaroo, acting alone, pretending to be both a physician’s assistant and a lawyer, tries to figure out what is going on.

Though this is science fiction, it’s more of a mystery and political thriller set in outer space. Along the way, Chen throws in some interesting science fiction ideas, such as locating retirement homes on the low-gravity and easier-on-the-joints moon. I also enjoyed the byzantine political infighting between government agencies that complicates Kangaroo’s life.

As the novel twists and turns, Kangaroo uses his self-deprecating sense of humor to maintain control of himself. Chen keeps things moving and never lets the plot creak and groan. “Kangaroo Too” is an intelligent and fun space mystery with a maturing and cheeky central character. Fans of John Scalzi and Chen’s “Waypoint Kangaroo” will enjoy this one.