The Mountain Master of Sha Tin (2019) – Ian Hamilton

I’ve been hooked on Ian Hamilton’s Ava Lee books since I first discovered them. I devour them voraciously as I follow the brilliant, and brave young woman on her adventures. She continues to work, somewhat, as a forensic accountant, but her life has changed a lot since I first met her, and she has become more and more involved in the triad gangs that work in China.

And that has led to her most dangerous adventure yet. Picking up just days after the previous adventure, The Goddess of Yantai, Ava and Fai can’t seem to get a moment to themselves as the past comes back to haunt Ava in a huge way.

Previously encountered villain, Sammy Wing, and his nephew Carter Wing, want power and control over Wanchai, and while her close friend, near brother, Xu is laid up in hospital with a troubling disease, Ava finds she has to deal with things on her own.

But the attempts to negotiate are sidelined when Sammy and Carter take a number of hostages, and send an indisputable message that they are not to be messed with. All of this will force Ava to regret a previous choice and may make a decision that will haunt her.

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Hamilton’s punchy, fast paced style has woven a tapestry over a dozen novels that has introduced to a variety of characters as we have become in Ava’s life, her loves, and her work.  This novel, like the previous tales, rockets along, very much embracing its crime thriller origins, even as Ava tries to balance her love life and her mission.

Continually filled with Fleming-esque details Hamilton’s story brings us to exotic Hong Kong his descriptions evoking the sprawling city in the mind’s eye even as Ava comes to terms with the fact that the Wings may not be able to be negotiated with.

Through the negotiations, horrors, phone calls and emails, there are through lines for the series including ones for her romance, and tie ins to the previous novels, which will no doubt affect future tales, and a nice set up with Ava’s mother back in Toronto.

Hamilton balances his action and emotional beats with ease, and takes Ava right to the ragged edge in this novel. We also get to catch up with familiar characters; it’s always nice to check in with Sonny.

I discovered the series back in 2015, and have never been more delighted to find a new read, and now I impatiently wait for each one to be released, and Hamilton doesn’t disappoint with the latest addition.

Hamilton crafts a highly enjoyable book that nestles nicely into the series, setting things up, paying this off, and continuing to grow her character. These are quickly devoured books that are perfect summer reads.

And now comes the wait for the next adventure…

The Mountain Master of Sha Tin will be available from House of Anansi Press on Tuesday in your favorite book stores!

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