The right book can instantly transport you to anywhere — and anytime — in the world. Every Thursday, we recommend one of our favorite books with a strong sense of place so you can see the sights, meet remarkable people, go on exciting adventures, and feel big feelings. Bonus: You don't even have to put on pants.
This post is part of our 'Weekend Getaway' series.
This weekend, we recommend a getaway to tropical Hawaii… to a private island with pristine beaches, crystal blue water, and oops! genetically modified, weaponized ants. It’s thrills and chills in paradise. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
Ignore the deadly ant swarm for a moment, and focus on the awesome things in this book.
First, it’s populated with three-dimensional, strong female characters. Like Hannah, an FBI consultant who investigates cases that involve futuristic technology and is an appealing combination of grit and fear. And Dr. Ez Choi, a thoroughly badass entomologist at the University of Arizona who buys unusual creepy-crawlers out of the back of a van.
Second, it’s set on a tropical Hawaiian island paradise that might just be the equivalent of a Bond villain’s lair.
And third, it’s packed with action, cool science, biting banter, and an ending that lands with a very satisfying bang.
The drama kicks off when Hannah gets a call from her FBI handler: ‘I’ve got a cabin full of over a thousand dead bodies,’ he says. The ensuing investigation leads Hannah to Arizona and the Hawaiian lair of an Elon Musk-ish billionaire. Has his ambition outstripped his good judgment? Spoiler: Of course it has! We are talking about demon ants!
In addition to the wealthy madman and the incensed insects, there are also intimidating spiders, potential conspiracies, flashbacks, dramatic weather, a coral atoll, and so much more. This is a truly thrilling thriller, and we dare you to not read it one sitting.
‘Paradise is precarious. Just one little thing…’ He mimes a little shove. ‘Can push it into imbalance. It didn’t take much to screw up the Garden of Eden.’ — Chuck Wendig
This suspense thriller (336 pages) was published in August of 2016 by HarperCollins. The book takes you to a Hawaiian island. read Invasive and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if didn't recommend it.
Bookshop.org is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support independent bookstores and give back to the book community.
Top image courtesy of Cody McLain.
Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!
Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.
Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.
This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.
We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.
This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.
Content on this site is © 2022 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.