The Water Rat of Wanchai

Ava Lee is a young Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant who works for an elderly Hong Kong–based “Uncle,” who may or may not have ties to the Triads. At 115 lbs., she hardly seems a threat. But her razorsharp intellect and resourcefulness allows her to succeed where traditional methods have failed. 

In The Water Rat of Wanchai, Ava travels across continents to track $5 million owed by a seafood company. But it’s in Guyana where she meets her match: Captain Robbins, a huge hulk of a man and godfather-like figure who controls the police, politicians, and criminals alike. In exchange for his help, he decides he wants a piece of Ava’s $5 million action and will do whatever it takes to get his fair share . . .
Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel
A CBC Bookie Award: Mystery and Thriller, Finalist
A Quill & Quire Book of the Year Editors’ Pick Top 100 Book of the Year
Toronto Star's Top 5 Books of the Year
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Book Reviews

Praise for The Water Rat of Wanchai

“Ian Hamilton makes the global search for hidden money as thrilling as James Bond fleeing down a snowy slope on one ski. Ava Lee is tough, fearless, quirky, and resourceful, and she has more – well, you know – than half a dozen male detectives I can think of. Ian Hamilton knows his stuff, and he has created a true original in Ava Lee.”
- Linwood Barclay, author of No Time for Goodbye
“This is a terrific story that’s certain to be on the Arthur Ellis Best First Novel list this year. Even better news is that the next three novels in the series are already written and ready to print. Ava Lee is going to be chasing the accounts for a long, long time.”
- Margaret Cannon, The Globe and Mail
“Ava is unbeatable at just about everything. Just wait for her to roll out her bak mei against the bad guys. She’s perfect. She’s fast.”
- Toronto Star
"In the age of Lisbeth Salander, it's not hard to see why Hamilton's jet-setting heroine is so appealing."
- Kevin Chong, National Post
"Readers will discern in Ava undertones of Lisbeth Salandar, the ferocious protagonist of the late Stieg Larsson's crime novels . . . irresistible."
- Joan Barfoot, London Free Press
"Ian Hamilton creates a terrific atmosphere of suspense."
- Sarah Weinman, Quill & Quire
"The desperate situations in The Water Rat of Wanchai are what keep the pages turning, but what will keep readers coming back to the series is Ava Lee."
- Buried in Print Blog