Friday, July 1, 2011
"The Water Rat of Wanchai", by Ian Hamilton
An Ava Lee novel, book1 in the series
I didn't know forensic accounting could be so exciting...After reading this book I will never see numbers the same way... This story is one that is immediately engaging, quite original in nature and fun to read. I couldn't zip through the pages fast enough, a fascinating tale to the end.
Ava Lee, a young Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant specializes in recovering massive debts, at 5'3', 115lbs she may not seem to be a threat but her sharpness and unorthodox way of operating have guaranteed her success where others have failed. She works out of Toronto for a Hong Kong based company run by a mysterious man known as "Uncle". They are hired on a commission bases by people who suspect they have been defrauded and hope to recover some of their missing funds.
In "The Water Rat of Wanchai", Ava accepts to track down the $5 million owed to one of "Uncle's" relatives. His nephew financed a major order of cooked shrimp for a large U.S. retailer, after the money was paid out; the retailer reneged on his responsibility to repay the debt.
The first part of the book may be a bit slow and the narrative slightly devoted to everyday life however I enjoyed Ava's travelogue to Seattle, Hong-Kong, Thailand, and British Guyana on the trail of the missing money. Her encounters bring her deep into a culture of fast deals, corrupt law enforcers and the way of life of the Thai katoeys. The storyline has sufficient detail to capture the essence of each port of call to make it exciting and captivating without side tracking the main plot.
The second half of the book picks up a notch when we learn Ava is not your ordinary accountant she can also hold her own with tough kung-fu moves in a world where physical intimidation rules. The action is explosive even brutal at times, the suspense is well constructed and stimulating. Ava, the protagonist, is not only smart, tough, feisty and impeccably polite but also a tough b--ch when the going gets rough; she has definitely the DNA of a tiger, a cold blooded heroine fit for the big screen.
This a great book and I am looking forward to reading more of Ava Lee's action packed adventures