The third Ava Lee novel, The Wild Beasts of Wuhan, finally turned up and I guess I have not to mind it took so long since it came from California. So then I read that and The Red Pole of Macau in 24 hours and now I’m back to ‘what am I going to read?’ You’d think I would learn.
They were both very different, which is something I’m appreciating about this series. In The Wild Beasts of Wuhan, Ava is tracking down art forgers to recoup the money for her clients. That takes her from China to Europe to the Faroe Islands and back again; the amount of time she spends on ‘planes is exhausting just to read about. It’s a fairly complicated puzzle to unravel but of course, Ava does. That is not a foregone conclusion, though and I wonder if there’s a future novel where it all does go wrong?
The back story is also building across the novels, and in The Red Pole of Macau it’s that which is the starting point. Ava is Chinese-Canadian, the daughter of Marcus Lee and his second wife, Jennie. Marcus also has a third wife who lives in Australia with her children. Although all the families know of each other, they remain separate.
Marcus asks Ava to help Michael, his son with his first wife, and this draws Ava into a family financial mess. Michael is also heir and future head of the family, who will pick up the responsibility for looking after all three families when Marcus dies. Although, based on the evidence of this novel, Michael is no kind of business man and they’re SOL if that happens. Anyway, when it transpires he’s gotten into a very dubious investment with what turn out to be gangsters, Ava feels she has no choice but to get the money back. The alternative is that Marcus will bail him out and the entire extended family will suffer.
In effect, a couple of idiot men have screwed things up and a couple of smart women will have to sort it all out. And that’s what they do. Michael’s dumb ass business parter gets kidnapped and Ava spins Michael a line about how she’s going to get the ransom money together, all the while planning a nice, set piece rescue. For this, she gets help from May Ling, her client from the previous novel and a woman with an enormous amount of contacts and influence.
There’s not more violence in this book, but it’s of a different sort and it starts to take Ava down a different path. She always refers to herself as an accountant, although acknowledging that if the people from whom she is trying to reclaim money are recalcitrant, she’s prepared to have their fingers chopped off to help persuade them otherwise. But the action in this book leads to an execution.
There are 8 further novels so far, and copies of those are all probably in California as well. So I’m interested to see how Ava’s character development goes.
In audio land, I’m spending a lot of time in Wyoming, with Sheriff Walt Longmire. This is doing nothing to put me off the idea of going to Wyoming. Big, open country full of no-one, you say? Huh. Now that I’ve finally upgraded my OS again and have AppleTV, well boy howdy, I get access to the TV show too. And therein rings the death knell of Netflix again.