The Scottish Banker of Surabaya (2013) – Ian Hamilton

 

These books just keep flying by, and I dug into number 5 with the same gusto that I tackled the other ones, and found myself on a darker adventure than the previous tales. This time around, it is Ava Lee’s mother, Jennie who approaches the forensic accountant and debt collector, to please help a group of Vietnamese who have lost over 30 million in an investment scheme. Dubious to take the case at first, she confers with her business partner, and retired Triad chair, Uncle, who is starting to have some of his own problems, and he encourages her to take the job, if she believes she can recover the money.

While balancing the plot with the ever-expanding world of Ava’s personal life, including the up-coming nuptials of her half-brother Michael and Amanda, both of whom she aided, along with her whole family, in the previous novel, her continuing relationship with Maria, and the business overtures of May Ling Wong, author Ian Hamilton ups the ante for our heroine as she travels to Indonesia and encounters a truly despicable character.

Near the halfway mark of the book I got incredibly upset with the villain of the piece, one Andrew Cameron. Having read all of the books one after the other as I have, I feel I’ve gotten to know Ava Lee, and when this incident began, I knew I would be furious in the following chapter, and I was! I wanted nothing more than Ava to be able to exact her revenge on this bastard, but I also knew she was smart and focussed enough to also continue working to regain the money for her clients. In fact, I knew the job would come first, but that she would find a way to take her vengeance.

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She finds out that not only does she have to take care of Cameron, but on discovering who he works for, Uncle can’t seem to get her out of Surabaya fast enough, though Ava comes up with a way to get money for her clients and give the authorities some important information about Cameron and his employers.

Hamilton’s books rocket along, barely pausing for breath, a head-long race towards the climax, that sees Ava coming through it not unscathed, and deciding on whether or not this a job that she wants to go on with. Uncle’s deteriorating health, and May’s business offer will definitely come into play in this regard, but I also think, that no matter how tired she is of the job, and the reader has only been with her for the past year, she’s been doing this for about a decade, she is incredibly adept at her job, and the lure of it may keep her coming back one way or another.

Hamilton continues to pay attention to all the details, and story threads from all the novels continue to weave together to create a world that may not be one I would survive in, but it definitely keeps  drawing me back to it over and over.

Ava Lee is an amazing creation, smart, unstoppable, vulnerable and focussed. I’m jumping into the next one, The Two Sisters of Borneo even now!

Seriously, read these books!

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