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The Water Rat of Wanchai (An Ava Lee Novel) [Kindle Edition]

Ian Hamilton
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Ava Lee is a young Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant who works for an elderly Hong Kong–based "Uncle," who may or may not have ties to the Triads. At 115 lbs., she hardly seems a threat. But her razorsharp intellect and resourcefulness allows her to succeed where traditional methods have failed.

In The Water Rat of Wanchai, Ava travels across continents to track $5 million owed by a seafood company. But it's in Guyana where she meets her match: Captain Robbins, a huge hulk of a man and godfather-like figure who controls the police, politicians, and criminals alike. In exchange for his help, he decides he wants a piece of Ava’s $5 million action and will do whatever it takes to get his fair share . . .

In the first of the series, Ian Hamilton introduces the reader to one of crime fiction's most unique and compelling heroines, and uncovers the dark machinations of the global shadow economy.

Editorial Reviews


Ava Lee is tough, fearless and resourceful... a true original. Linwood Barclay In the age of Lisbeth Salander, it's not hard to see why Hamilton's jet-setting heroine is so appealing. National Post When the central character looks like Lucy Liu, kicks like Jackie Chan and has a travel budget like Donald Trump, the story is anything but boring. Montreal Gazette Ranks as one of my favourite reads for 2011 The West Australian


Ava Lee is tough, fearless and resourceful... a true original. Linwood Barclay In the age of Lisbeth Salander, it's not hard to see why Hamilton's jet-setting heroine is so appealing. National Post When the central character looks like Lucy Liu, kicks like Jackie Chan and has a travel budget like Donald Trump, the story is anything but boring. Montreal Gazette Ranks as one of my favourite reads for 2011 The West Australian

Product Details

  • File Size: 643 KB
  • Print Length: 426 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0887842518
  • Publisher: House of Anansi Press (May 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005CVV1XC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #487,519 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Tale July 1, 2011
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Thriller with a Twist August 27, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I must admit that i got this book first because it was recommended to me, but also because I loved the title. The book really did not disappoint. There's something about a young Asian, Canadian woman who is a master in martial arts and a forensic accountant to boot. The book is a quick read, and the plot moves along at a great pace. We go from Toronto, to Hong Kong, to Bangkok, to Guayana to the British Virgin Islands. Ava Lee is a new generation protagonist. Smart tough and resourceful. In the book Ava and Uncle are trying to return 5 million dollars in money that was taken on a fraudulant shrimp deal. The book really portrays the extent of political corruption in some of our smaller and isolated third-world countries in the world. It makes doing business in these countries interesting and challenging, and only someone with superior skills can manage it. Ava certainly is a unique character and I can't wait to read more about her.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous main character May 2, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I will read more of this author. Rather despicable villains dealt with brilliantly. This is a protagonist who should grow more and more interesting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ian Hamilton Series is Addictive. June 4, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read all of his books with his main character and Love her. This series is addictive and you get hoping there will be more from Ian Hamilton. They take you to dark places one can never imagine.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Tigress is born June 2, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Unsure of what to expect, but always ready for a new mystery, one of my favorite genres, I registered for a free copy of this book in a giveaway. Ava Lee captivated me from the start. Already a fan of Kelsey Milhone in the Sue Grafton series "... is for ...", I was ready for another strong heroine who isn't afraid to take on the bad guys. Having spent 12 years of my life in Asia, it was great fun to read about familiar places as Ava zipped around the world from Canada to Hong Kong to Bangkok to Guyana on the trail of stolen money. The author's descriptions of Asian cultural traits and mores enhance the book's authenticity. Can't wait to read the next one. Go Ava!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very entertaining read March 24, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An entertaining and enlightening read, appreciated after a couple of Christmas holiday duds. Through his character, Ava--a forensic accountant cum investigator cum marital arts expert, Hamilton takes us into the thoughts and culture of the Chinese. His insights into this culture caught me by surprise, including so many details and facts that were new to me.

Ava, through joining up with an older man, 'her erstwhile uncle,' runs a business tasked with recovering stolen and misappropriated funds. To look at Ava is a slim, very attractive Chinese woman in her early 30's. She is based in Toronto, while he is based in Hong Kong.

In this suspenseful tale ranging from Ava home to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Guiana we find her chasing two sleazy characters, the worst of whom is the water rat of Wanchai. These two have through a series of slick moves misappropriated millions geared by buying and delivering shrimp to an American chain. They and the money have disappeared. Ava must find them and somehow persuade them to return it or the client will be both bankrupt and shamed among his Chinese contemporaries.

In each of the locales we gain insights into the country, culture and character of the people, both the hoi poloi and the sleazy underbelly of society. We also gain insights into the international money markets.

In Guiana, Ava faces her stiffest opponest, the ruthless power behind the government of the run-down country. Will she escape his clutches with money restored to her client, or will her nemesis triumph? A very fast-paced story ensues. The only warning I would give is that readers may find that Ada's sexual orientation is troubling. Fortunately overt sexuality does not occur.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down...action & intrigue from start to finish.
The author has a way of involving the reader from the very start and once hooked you cannot put the book down!
Published 16 months ago by Carole Musgrave
5.0 out of 5 stars A neat twist
Another interesting plot and sub plots that kept me immersed to the end.
Again drawing to the past to over come uissues and get the job done
Published 17 months ago by kenP
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast moving and well written
this is my first book by this author. I found his explanations very clear and concise. I am waiting for his latest book to be available on the Kindle.
Published 18 months ago by rose1234
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
Great story and characters. Enjoyed recognizing many of the Toronto and area references. I would definitely recommend this book to others.
Published 23 months ago by Ghiligan
5.0 out of 5 stars Chinese-Canadian lesbian forensic panty accountant, brought to you by...
So, here's the thing. I sort of loved this book. It really is fun, but you have to be willing to ignore a couple annoying quirks. Read more
Published on May 30, 2012 by Joey Comeau
2.0 out of 5 stars Silly Me!
I thought that forensic accounting was all about wading through masses of documents checking for stuff like tax evasion, embezzling, money-laundering, terrorist financing, ponzi... Read more
Published on March 29, 2012 by Druid63
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and Fascinating
I've often stopped and mused on how I would handle situations and then was surprised by far cleverer solutions. Read more
Published on February 23, 2012 by CyberFonic
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