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by Ian Hamilton

Pub Date: May 6th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-250-03227-0
Publisher: Picador

A prequel to the Ava Lee series takes the jet-setting accountant into foreign lands and considerable danger.

When Ava, a Toronto-based forensic accountant, gets a referral from her elderly business partner, she hesitates to take the case. Should she help Andrew Tam recover a $5 million investment in a seafood company that has disappeared along with unpaid money and unreleased inventory? Although she’s so loyal to her partner that she gives him the courtesy title Uncle, Ava is also shrewd, objective and cautious about signing up for the job until she’s done her homework about Seafood Partners. By the time Ava locates the money through a clever deception, she’s also learned more than she ever dreamed she would about the shrimp industry. Satisfied that the money, if not the shrimp, is retrievable, she travels to Hong Kong and Bangkok to track down the two scamming partners. Much of her initial work is a waiting game that leaves her time to shop, work out and order food, until she blackmails the less-important conspirator into giving up the location of his partner, Jackson Seto. When Ava follows Seto to his bolt-hole in Guyana, she encounters levels of power and corruption she hadn’t anticipated. But the adversaries who dismiss her as a fragile Chinese doll find out how much they’ve misjudged her and underestimate how far she’ll go to honor her commitment to Uncle and her client. Hamilton (The Red Pole of Macau,2013, etc.) is as methodical as his cool-headed heroine in laying the groundwork for this adventure tale—too methodical, since it takes nearly half the book for Ava to hit her stride.

Once she does, buyer beware this elegantly ruthless debt collector.