In praise of reading under the covers

When I was a kid I used to stay up all night reading — totally the stereotypical thing with a flashlight under the covers, devouring Madeleine L’Engle and Ursula Leguin and Nancy Drew and, well, anything I could get my hands on.

Last night I had flashbacks of childhood as I devoured Paula Hawkings’ Into the Water. I kept turning pages hours after my husband was sound asleep, unable to put the book down until the very last page.

It was awesome.

If you like thrillers and are looking for your next late night read, I highly recommend it. 

If you prefer thrillers in space, I’ve got a sci-fi recommendation for you today! Waypoint Kangaroo is a delightful debut spy novel by fellow Portland author Curtis Chen. (I think you’ll especially like it if you enjoyed the wry humor in my book Negative Return).

Into the Water

Into the water

by Paula Hawkins

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.

With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.

Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

Find it at Amazon, Powell’s, IndieBound

Waypoint Kangaroo


by Curtis Chen

Kangaroo isn’t your typical spy. Sure, he has extensive agency training, access to bleeding-edge technology, and a ready supply of clever (to him) quips and retorts. But what sets him apart is “the pocket.” It’s a portal that opens into an empty, seemingly infinite, parallel universe, and Kangaroo is the only person in the world who can use it. But he’s pretty sure the agency only keeps him around to exploit his superpower.

After he bungles yet another mission, Kangaroo gets sent away on a mandatory “vacation:” an interplanetary cruise to Mars. While he tries to make the most of his exile, two passengers are found dead, and Kangaroo has to risk blowing his cover. It turns out he isn’t the only spy on the ship–and he’s just starting to unravel a massive conspiracy which threatens the entire Solar System.

Now, Kangaroo has to stop a disaster which would shatter the delicate peace that’s existed between Earth and Mars ever since the brutal Martian Independence War. A new interplanetary conflict would be devastating for both sides. Millions of lives are at stake.

Weren’t vacations supposed to be relaxing?

Find it wherever books are sold: Amazon, Powell’s, IndieBound   

Cover Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash