An Ava Lee novel (#1)

By Ian Hamilton

Picador, February, 2013 ($15.OO)
ISBN-13: 978-1-250-03193-8

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Fifty million dollars vanished from the accounts of Tommy Ordonez, one of the wealthiest men in the Philippines. Enter Ava Lee, a forensic accountant. A what? A forensic accountant. You read it correctly. Who knew there was such a career path? My high school guidance counselor never mentioned it. My choices were teacher or nurse. But I digress.

Ava Lee is more than just a whiz with numbers though. She is lethal...and beautiful (of course, that almost goes without saying)...and she has a Triad-connected (think Chinese mafia) "Uncle." She ultimately traces the money but will she be able to recover it before succumbing to an expanding list of enemies?

I have one reservation about recommending this book. I'm not sure if the author is seriously writing a thriller or a spoof. I just don't get it. I read THE DISCIPLE OF LAS VEGAS more as a spoof. (Think Austin Powers as a swinger and a spy.) I didn't take the plot or Ava in the least bit seriously. I had a quick read with lots of chuckles.

If, on the other hand, the author meant THE DISCIPLE OF LAS VEGAS to be taken seriously, I would have to re-think my experience and say I hated the book. Ava, if taken seriously, is a boring character, always donning this or that brand name apparel, jumping into the shower or out of the shower so she can get in or out of a Giordano T-shirt and Adidas track pants, yet again.

So, is it my problem that I don't know what kind of book the author meant to write or is it a short coming in the writer's ability to tell the story he meant to tell? Does it really matter? I suppose in a way it does matter. Whether a reader enjoys THE DISCIPLE OF LAS VEGAS or tosses it at the nearest wall will depend, a good deal, on their perspective and how they approach the book. I chose to view it as a silly romp rather than a serious thriller. "Your mileage may vary," as they say.

THE WILD BEASTS OF WUHAN is the second book in the Ava Lee series. Please click here to read a review of THE WILD BEASTS OF WUHAN book.

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