The Water Rat of Wancha
By Ian Hamilton
Here is a new series with a heroine, small but mighty. She is Ava Lee, a forensic accountant who follows the money that is diverted from its rightful owner, when bad guys get greedy.
Ava doesn’t just read the file and find the money, she travels all over the globe to get it. She is a Chinese woman of five foot three, who tips the scales at 115 pounds, but don’t let that fool you. The creeps that come her way meet a dynamo, versed in the martial arts including “bak mei.” It’s not what they expect from the diminutive woman.
Ian Hamilton has created a “Lisbeth Sander” without the abusive background, but just as tough. Ava works with her “Uncle” who may or may not be connected with Triads. Uncle has many international connections and friends who move money around the world.
In this case, a man named Mr Lam, has a company which specializes in financing purchase orders.
When big deals are made, the bank may not loan the whole amount needed, and that’s where Mr Lam’s company comes in.
He is an honest business man, but this deal has gone awry and Mr Lam would like to retrieve $5 million owed to him. If Ava finds the money, 30 per cent of it is hers.
The crooks on the other end of the deal are Jackson Seto and George Antonelli, of Hong Kong and Bangkok.
The “sleeze-factor” is pretty high in this story; there are few gentlemen in the places she visits. Ava is on her own in tracking these people.
A small pretty Chinese lady is not taken very seriously, and many people are disarmed by her appearance. There is a nice scene in the Virgin Islands when a couple of toughs see Ava out running by the sea wall.
She seems an easy mark and they move in for a bit of assault and battery. It takes 30 seconds to change their minds.
From Hong Kong to Bangkok, then to Trinidad and Guyana, she follows the trail. In Guyana she meets a man known as “the Captain.” He owns or runs the city of Georgetown, and he wants a chunk of the action. Its doubtful if Ava can get anywhere without his co-operation.
This story is told in a fast paced way. It has to be said that Ava is not averse to nasty tricks, she has to use her martial arts and large doses of chloral hydrate to subdue those who are not co-operative.
Ian Hamilton has created a highly believable character, and this story takes you to the grunge capitals of the underworld.
Mr Lam may get his money, but Ava Lee will have to be fleet footed to get past “the captain.”
There are three more (at least) to come in this series. Disciple of Las Vegas, Wild Beasts of Wuhan, and Red Pole of Macau will soon be off the Press.
Peggy Freeman is a freelance writer living in Red Deer.