The Imam of Tawi-Tawi (2018) – Ian Hamilton

There’s nothing like starting a new year, with an old friend. And hitting book shelves this week, is my friend Ava Lee, returning in her latest adventure, her tenth novel, by Canadian author, Ian Hamilton.

This tale picks up shortly after the last, The Courtier of Milan, with forensic accountant Lee’s love life coming to blossom with Chinese film star, Pang Fai. When she receives a call asking for a favour she finds herself thrust into a new manner of adventure for her character.

She travels to the Philippines where she finds herself investigating a college that is reportedly training Muslim Jihadists for an upcoming terror attack.

And just like that Ava’s character is dealing with politics, and terrorism, racing to stop an attack, and uncover the truth of the college.

I was a little anxious when I first read the blurb about Ava’s latest adventure, not that I wanted her to shy away from such things, but Hamilton, as the author, had established a pattern, a Fleming-eaque story telling style that seemed perfectly tailored to Ava’s adventures. I was a little nervous to see how adding a political angle to the story would play out.


Hamilton handles it with aplomb, and Ava seems just as uncomfortable with the idea as I was. She voices her concerns a number of times, but is soon drawn into the mystery, the money trail, and the safety of countless souls.

Hamilton’s rapid-fire storytelling moves the tale along at breakneck speed, as Ava globe trots to put clues together. Hamilton has always had a knack for combing Fleming style descriptors with modern storytelling devices and character beats, and this book is no different.

It does, however, come across as a slightly ‘bigger’ story than those Ava had ventured on before, but Hamilton is able to make this adventure very much Ava’s own, and I love how her character interacts and reacts with things she’s not used to encountering before.

Ava encounters familiar faces, as well as adding new ones to the cast of characters, as, for the first time, she teams up with a CIA agent in the course of her investigation.

The novel reads briskly and quickly, and I can’t help kicking myself in the butt now that I’ve finished the latest Ava Lee adventure, and now I have a whole year before there is another one in my hands.

With ten books in the series, Ava Lee, is still going strong, and proves, each and every time she is a worthy addition to the Book Shelf. I love these stories, and delight in any opportunity to introduce them to new readers.

And then I become rather envious that they have ten books to read right off the bat. But that’s okay, Mr. Hamilton, I don’t mind the wait, Ava is worth it!

Ava Lee’s latest adventure The Imam of Tawi-Tawi is available now!


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