It’s worth saying straight up. Ian Hamilton’s character Ava Lee is one of the freshest takes in a saturated crime writing market.
The petite Chinese-Canadian is part PI, part MacGyver, ingenious forensic accountant and when necessary, an unorthodox debt collector. Working for an elderly “uncle” based in Hong Kong, it’s her job to find the money and return it.
She’s very good at this job which affords her a comfortable life, has razor-sharp intelligence and knows when to employ methods far from traditional, skills which are tested when she finds one money trail which leads across the world to Guyana. Once again, a fresh and unusual country to set a good deal of the book in rather than choosing a more hackneyed city.
Author Ian Hamilton’s background as a journalist, diplomat and businessman has obviously sent him travelling and the book is conformation of an observant eye for details and nuance, particularly if you’ve ever spent time in well-heeled Asian hotels.
It’s always interesting to read about a heroine written by bloke and the author hits all the right notes. Ava is likeable and tough but not without those lovely moments, albeit brief, of femininity, softness and lust.
Let’s not forget the suspense, the cool action and the moments when you think she’s just not going to get out of a situation. Ava’s smarts and toughs – aided occasionally by her enemy seriously underestimating a chick! – are what get her through and you’ll find yourself cheering for the good gals. Hell, there were moments when I wished I was her.
While this is the first book released in a series, apparently a four movie deal has already been signed and it’s being touted to be in the vein of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I’m imagining Ava as a role for Charlies Angels and Kill Bill star Lucy Liu, even if she might be taller than the diminutive book character.
The Deadly Touch of the Tigress ranks as one of my favourite reads for 2011 and is perfect for the up-coming holidays. Plus it’s something you can read and hand over to your other half afterwards to have as much fun with.
I can’t wait for the next one!