Saturday, July 21, 2012
Wild Beasts of Wuhan (Ava Lee #3) by Ian Hamilton
I am a sucker for this series. I don’t know why it is, but I admit a fascination with the heroine, Ava Lee. I love knowing where she is staying in the capitols of Europe and Asia, what she eats, where she exercises. She is more disciplined than I am, which I admire, and it is interesting to see what someone driven can accomplish in a day with unlimited funds and a sense of vengeance.
Author Hamilton never seems to lose sight of where Ava is in the day. Ava catches planes like other people catch taxis, and almost every day is a new country, a new time zone, a new set of circumstances. But neither the author nor our heroine ever gets confused about what time it is in Hong Kong, where her partner, the revered “Uncle” resides.
In this third in the series, Ava chases down art forgers in Ireland and the Faroe Islands for her clients in Wuhan, China. Then, in London and New York, she finds the dealers to whom the forgers sold their paintings. But this time she blunders a little. She goes into the case with less information than she needs to force a settlement, and has to backtrack, get more information, and then re-engage. This is more like us ordinary mortals, who occasionally hit stumbling blocks. I didn’t like to see her fail, but it is nice to know she is not completely invulnerable.
Another twist in the story is that Ava’s clients do the unforgiveable: they become involved with her resolution of the case. She exacts her revenge for that, too, which keeps us wondering to the end. All in all, Hamilton adds complexities to his protagonist’s cases that he must unravel throughout the story. Seeing how Ava will decide to manage the issues she faces is what makes this series delectable.
During the course of this investigation, Ava has a casual one night stand with a hotel manageress. I wondered about that—whether or not it rang true. As I read on, I shrugged it off. It could be possible. She seems entirely her own woman. I wouldn’t dare say what she would or wouldn‘t do. I have a feeling she and Hamilton are going to continually surprise me throughout this series.
The the way, I accidentally read Ava Lee #3 before The Disciple of Las Vegas (Ava Lee #2). So if you are wanting to do the series in order, don't follow my lead!
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