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The Water Rat of Wanchai Paperback – Jan 24 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: House of Anansi Press (Jan. 24 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887842518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887842511
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #69,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bjb on Feb. 14 2011
Format: Paperback
This book was very difficult to put down! The pace just continued to build throughout, the narrative never faltered and the touches of local colour throughout Ava's journey were incredible. I am hooked! Cannot wait 'till the next book is out!!!

BJB
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By pollywog on Sept. 30 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A page turner with the protagonist a forensic accountant? Yup... Somehow this actually works. The story starts off a bit on the slow side. The author goes to great lengths to describe locations / settings, at times making the writing a bit self-conscious if not contrived. There are also details to Ava Lee (main character) that are very interesting but have no pay-off in the storytelling. Rather, these facts are left dangling. Perhaps the pay-off is in one of the other novels in the series? If not, it begs the question "why?". The author also tends to repeat some literary suspense "tricks" (the phone that almost goes to voicemail before it is picked up). Eventually, the plot pace picks up and the energy of the story is quite invigorating. All in all a fine read for the cottage or rainy days.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on May 8 2011
Format: Paperback
Here is my list of reasons as to why I think this is a blockbuster of a novel in the crime-thriller vein:
1) Nothing stock about the main characters in this first novel of a promising series. Ava Lee, as the protagonist, is both shrewd and wily in how she tackles a complex investigation, Chinese style, involving delinquent corporate accounts, and is well complemented by a cast of equally artful and believable antagonists;
2) The novel is fast moving and seamless as it moves between a number of global settings. The characters appear to be well suited to their clime, whether it be in big entrepots like Hong Kong, or tropical spots like the British Virgin Islands, or dank little hell holes like Guyana. Hamilton makes sure things happen big time;
3) Ava belongs to the new smart generation of gumshoes who is connected to their offshore sources through cellphone and the Internet. Millions of dollars are wired in an instant from the China Mainland to the US and the Caribbean because the deals are big and the stakes are high. Ava'a task as a forensic accountant is to act on behalf of a client in chasing down an American businessman who has absconded with a big private loan after his shrimp packing company went bust;
4) The reader should have no trouble understanding how Ava operates as a sleuth. It is certainly not by the book. Pragmatics and stealth are her game in running her quarry, Seto, to ground. It doesn't hurt to have a mentor back home who is willing to advise her and bankroll her many hair-raising escapades;
5) Ava has to make some very risky alliances with very unscrupulous people who are looking for a piece of the action.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Susan Mills on Dec 7 2011
Format: Paperback
Before I put this one in the recycling bin I feel it necessary to leave a counterbalancing review to all the accolades that encouraged me to buy the book in the first place. My rule of thumb has always been to read 50 or 100 pages before deciding whether or not reading further is worth my time. I managed to get through 91 pages of 'The Water Rat of Wanchai' before I could stand no more.

The idea of a clever thriller about forensic accounting was a good one. Unfortunately, the book itself appears to have been written by an accountant. If your idea of acceptable descriptive phrasing allows for nothing more than name dropping expensive brand products then you may like this. If you enjoy reading about a character who is so flat and uninspired that she makes the term two dimensional sound positive you may like Ava. Why take my word for it when I can give you an example from page 53:

"Ava travelled light. It took her less than half an hour to pack her Louis Vuitton monogrammed suitcase and her 'Shanghai Tang Double Happiness' bag. The suitcase was where she packed her business look: black linen slacks, a pencil skirt, Cole Hahn black leather pumps, two sets of black bras and panties, and three Brooks Brothers shirts in powder blue, pink, and white - one with a button down collar, the other two with modified Italian collars, and all of them with French cuffs. She chose a small jewelry case to hold her Cartier Tank Francaise watch, a set of green jade cufflinks, and a simple gold crucifix. She then went through the leather pouch that held her collection of of clasps, pins, barrettes, headbands, and combs and took out an ivory chignon pin she especially loved, adding it to the jewelry case. Ava wore her hair up nearly all the time and like to accentuate it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lynn on April 18 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I've read all four books in the same series by Ian Hamilton. Fortunately they were all donation of a friend (who regretted her purchases). I think I should write something to warn those who might be on the verge of buying the book.

First of all, if you're curious about this Ava Lee adventure and really want to give it a read, buy one of the books in the series and that's it. That's enough. There's no need to read all of them as each of them follows the exact same pattern and is filled with 50% of recycled information on Ava Lee's background, her liking in clothing, why she prefers the Mandarin hotel, her choice of dim sum, her relationship with her family and 'Uncle', and her habit of jogging and shower afterwards, etc.

Second of all, if you're not a fan of product placements, do not even bother to read any of these books. 20% of the contents in each book are repetitive mention of brand names. Brooks Brother' shirts, Shanghai Tang Double Happiness bag, Chanel bag, Cartier watch, Giordano T-shirt, Adidas track pants, Starbucks VIA instant coffee etc. Note that these names do not just appear once or twice, they literally show up in every other several paragraphs! (Did those brands sponsor the author for the book writing or what?)

Third of all, if you're looking forward to a fast paced thriller, these Ava Lee books are not the one for you, as 70% of the book were exposition and other unnecessary stuff. You'll find yourself spending most of your time reading about Ava Lee's life in slow motion, and repetitively. Pretty much in EVERY chapter you'll read about she takes a walk or goes jogging, and then gets into a shower, and then puts on a clean bra and clean panties, and then her favourite Giordano T-shirt and Adidas track pants, and then...No Kidding!
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