The first time I heard of Ian Hamilton and the Ava Lee series was a few years ago at the Blue Metropolis Festival here in Montreal. I was scouring the schedule deciding who to see when I spotted his name and the description of Ava Lee, the main character, a Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant. What? There was a crime series featuring a Chinese-Canadian woman? I had to go hear what Hamilton had to say.
I finally got around to reading the first book a few weeks ago when my friend and blogger, Tranquil Dreams, lent it to me. Ava Lee is a forensic accountant and has a partner in Hong Kong simply known as “Uncle”. In The Water Rat of Wanchai, they are hired to help a company that specializes in financing purchase orders and letters of credit recover $5 million from a seafood company. Ava doesn’t sit in her condo in Toronto scrutinizing ledgers, receipts and tax returns. She’s a martial arts expert and can handle a gun, but like any good accountant, she follows the money trail. It takes her to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Guyana and the British Virgin Islands and she crosses paths with some pretty nasty people who would like some of that money for themselves. Ava is a smart, tough, independent, woman who figures out all the angles. The first book in the series is a page turner and Hamilton’s skillful writing keeps the pace up to the very end.
His eleventh book in the series, The Imam of Tawi-Tawi is due out in January 2018. If you’re looking for a new series that’s filled with action and is well-written, you might try this one.