The Imam of Tawi-Tawi

Ian Hamilton. Spiderline (PGW, U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.) , $15.95 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-4870-0274-9
The tense 11th book in Hamilton’s Ava Lee series is one of his best. (The Water Rat of Wanchai won an Arthur Ellis Award for best first novel.) The action begins when Ava receives a call from Manila businessman Chang Wang, an old friend of her late mentor, Uncle, with an urgent request: a local senator needs her forensic fact-gathering talents to quietly investigate a suspected jihadist training school on the island of Tawi-Tawi, in the southern Philippines. Ava, a Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant, does what she does best: she follows the money used to finance the school, and much of the page-turning action involves Ava scouring through files and following leads at a keyboard. She teams up with CIA agent Alasdair Dulles, and once they realize the frightening scale of the terror plot they race to Tawi-Tawi to try to avert a catastrophe. This time out Hamilton leaves aside Ava’s new life as a legitimate businesswoman and throws her into the dark and murky world of global politics and not-so-trustworthy intelligence agencies. Tightly plotted and quick-moving, this is a spare yet terrifically suspenseful novel. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/2018
Release date: 02/01/2018
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