Ian Hamilton honed his writing skills working as a journalist for various publications and gained experience and inspiration while first working as a Canadian civil servant, then in private business where he travelled and lived in over 30 countries worldwide. After recovery from a life threatening illness he was inspired to write for himself and completed the initial four Ava Lee books within 8 months.
Order of Ava Lee Series
|1||The Water Rat of Wanchai||2011|
|2||The Disciple of Las Vegas||2011|
|3||The Wild Beasts of Wuhan||2011|
|4||The Red Pole of Macau||2012|
|5||The Scottish Banker of Surabaya||2013|
|6||The Dragon Head of Hong Kong||2013|
|7||The Two Sisters of Borneo||2014|
|8||The King of Shanghai||2014|
|9||The Princeling of Nanjing||2015|
|10||The Couturier of Milan||2017|
As an author, Ian Hamilton is best known for the current series of crime and mystery novels featuring the character Ava Lee, a lesbian forensic accountant of Canadian Chinese heritage who specializes in chasing criminals who have accrued massive bad debts through dubious methods. Ava is intelligent, creative and fiercely independent doing whatever it takes to complete the job she is given. Her motto is “people always do the right thing for the wrong reason” and her modus operandi is to find that wrong reason. She is feisty and fearless regardless of her foe and will fight until she gets the job done.
Ian Hamilton Awards:
Hamilton’s first book, the nonfiction The Children’s Crusade won the Canadian Book of the Month Club Main Selection.
This was followed by the highly successful The Water Rat of Wanchai which won the Arthur Ellis award for Best First Crime Novel and was also a Quill and Quire and Toronto Star Top 5 Novel of the Year, an Amazon editor’s pick, and short listed for CBC Bookie Award.
The Disciple of Las Vegas was on the short list for the Barry Award for the Best Original Paperback published USA in 2014 while The Wild Beasts of Wuhan was shortlisted for the Lambda Award for Best Lesbian Crime/Mystery Novel of 2013.
BBC Culture also selected Hamilton as “one of the ten mystery/crime writers from the last 30 years that should be on your bookshelf.”
Ian Hamilton Books Into Movies
According to his current website, “Strada Films is looking to create a film franchise” based on the Ava Lee book series starting with the first of the four books to be adapted to the screen by award winning Canadian screenwriter Karen Walton.
Best Ian Hamilton Books:
The Water Rat of Wanchai: This is the first book in the Ava Lee series and it showcases Ava Lee’s Chinese-Canadian character as an intelligent accountant working for her elderly “Uncle” based in Honk Kong who may possibly have some shady links to Asian Triads. She learns a lot more about her Asian heritage and the dealings of organized corruption.
Diminutive in size, Ava shows her courage and skills throughout the novel in pursuit of $5 million owed by a seafood company, travelling across continents and dealing with police, criminals and politicians alike. In the spirit of Lisbeth Salander of Dragon Tattoo fame, Ava has to draw on her razor sharp intellect and determined courage to recover the funds despite the efforts of Captain Robbins in Guyana, who sets out to thwart her efforts. Ava may be petit but she is confident in her martial art skills and always prefers to work alone.
The Wild Beasts of Wuhan: This is the third book of the series and Ava Lee continues her pursuit of corruption and its ubiquitous links to money and theft.
Uncle and Ava have been summoned by Wong Changxing, known as the “The Emperor of Hubei” because of his powerful influence throughout China, because he has discovered that his newly acquired Fauvist works of art are far from original.
This leads Ava on one of her trademark sleuthing trails across the world to places such as New York, London, Dublin, and the somewhat gruesomely infamous Faroe Islands of Denmark, where whales are annually slaughtered. The plot is further twisted by May Ling, Wong’s second wife, who would prefer that Ava does not succeed in her mission.
The Scottish Banker of Surabaya: This is the fifth in the continuing series of the extremely popular Ava Lee crime/mystery novels. True to form this book continues Ava’s pursuit after criminals and their ill gotten gains across the world, this time exposing the Italian mob. This novel is more sinister than previous Ava Lee novels and Hamilton continues to take readers to exotic places where evil deeds take place.
The novel begins with an investigation into what seems like a simple Ponzi scheme but soon develops into a front for an elaborate front for a money laundering ring run by vicious Italian mobsters. While Uncle’s health is failing Ava is dealing with personal issues and the Scotsman as well as the threatening mobsters.