The King of Shanghai (2014) – Ian Hamilton

 

The seventh adventure for Ava Lee Feels like a transitional tale which makes sense, as our favorite forensic accountant and debt collector is in a bit of transition herself. Mourning the loss of Uncle, she has formed a new company, Three Sisters with Amanda and May Ling, and are looking for new business ventures to be involved in.

While this is underway (they are looking into a distribution and storage service as well as financing a fashion designer and his proposed clothes line), Xu, who made an appearance in the previous novel, and happily helped Ava out of a tough spot returns to her life to make her an intriguing, if possibly dangerous proposal.

It seems Xu had a history with Uncle which Ava only learns in this installment, and he is trying to return the Triads to their original intention, and also wants to be the chair for the entire brotherhood, something that is being contested by a couple of other leaders, one of whom has a bit of a darker history with Ava (no spoilers in case you haven’t read the previous novels). Ava quickly finds herself drawn into the middle of what could be gang warfare, as Xu asks her for help in moderating and securing his position.

This one seemed to move a little slower than the previous installments, but I believe that was due to the fact that, as mentioned it’s a transitional tale, there is lots going on, a slew of story threads all happening at once, unlike the other novels where there was the dominant A-story and a few smaller stories, characters or moments popping up along the way to either pay off, or set up future events. Or, and this is just as likely, I was taking my time reading this one, because I know it’s the last one to read for a while… The next book isn’t due out until February of 2015 (ARGH!! – I’m going to have to start pestering the publishing company for galleys or something!!!)

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In this one, we are plunged into Ava’s life as she attempts to juggle her new business life, working with her partners, developing opportunities, and then getting tied up in a whole Triad mess.

The moments that shine through most for me in this book are those that she shares with Sonny, previously Uncle’s bodyguard and driver, he now works for Ava, and it’s nice to see that relationship developing, adding more depth to Sonny’s character as we learn more about him.

Hamilton still crafts everything with wonderful details and descriptions, Ava continues to be a brilliant creation, and I hate the fact that I now have to leave her side for a number of months. She’s so awesome, and having spent the past few weeks with her, I really don’t enjoy the idea of leaving her for a while. I know she can handle herself, and more importantly, I know she’s a fictional character, but I have loved the time spent in her company, and can’t wait to join her on her next adventure!

If, however, you are unlike me, and haven’t read these books yet, pick them up IMMEDIATELY! These are perfect summer reading fare, on the beach, on your patio, trust me.

avaleepatio

 

 

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