The Goddess of Yantai (2018) – Ian Hamilton

Ava Lee returns in a book that allows for the forensic accountant’s take on the film world and the darkness it hides, as she and her girlfriend, Pang Fai, a Chinese film star are caught up in the corruption and actions of the Chinese Movie Syndicate.

Hitting bookshelves in the next week, Anansi Press lets me catch up with one of my favorite Canadian literary characters, Ian Hamilton’s Ava Lee. In fact, I anticipate these releases all year round, and am always eager to find out what the character is up to now.

This story picks up shortly after the close of the previous tale, and begins setting up the next one halfway through, and sees Ava in Bejing spending time with her girlfriend, the incredibly talented Pang Fai.

Following a screening of her latest film, however, the plot kicks into high gear with the threat of blackmail, with Fai’s sexual orientation at the center of the issue. China’s government, as a whole, is against homosexuality, and were it to get out that she was gay, Pang Fai’s career could be ruined.

Ava, never one to sit on the sidelines, takes the fight to whomever she can find, hunting down leads of an incriminating sex tape, and those in the government or her personal life that would want to harm Fai.

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Told in his typical punchy and forthright style, Hamilton’s latest thriller is a rapid-fire read that leaves the reader breathless and eagerly anticipating the next installment, which, according to the tag at the end of this novel, is only seven months away.

Hamilton’s descriptors create perfectly crafted images in my head, and I can see the characters fully as they walk the raining streets of Bejing, relax in Fai’s hutong, or conducting meetings as recurring characters continue the business deals that often play a part in Ava’s life.

There’s a punchy flair to Hamilton’s prose that calls to mind the thrilling exploits penned by Hammett and Fleming, but with a character imbued with today’s sensibilities, Ava is fully realized hero who has grown over the series. Each adventure is a glimpse into a world that both excites and frightens, but Hamilton’s hand guides Ava and the reader along on the rollercoaster ride until you come to the end of the book…

But since his writing style often sets up the next story in the midst of the one you’re reading, you can glimpse the next adventure waiting teasingly ahead.

This is a series of books that just seems to get better and better, and I eagerly await each addition to Ava’s story.

The Goddess of Yantai is available next week from Anansi Press!!

And if you haven’t started this series, pick one up today, and dive in. You won’t regret it, and you have some great stories to catch up on!

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