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Hour of the Rat (Ellie McEnroe #2)

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  344 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
Iraq War vet Ellie McEnroe has a pretty good life in Beijing, representing the work of controversial dissident Chinese artist Zhang Jianli. Even though Zhang's mysterious disappearance has attracted the attention of the Chinese authorities. Even though her Born-Again mother has come for a visit and shows no signs of leaving.

But things really get complicated when Ellie's
Hardcover, 371 pages
Published June 18th 2013 by Soho Crime (first published January 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,510)
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Oct 04, 2013 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: war vet expats who pick up stray dogs, born-again mothers with bad taste in men
Rock Paper Tiger was an unexpectedly good debut novel, and made Lisa Brackmann a crime fiction writer to look out for. I said that if she continued writing about the adventures of Ellie McEnroe I would be down for that, and lo and behold, here is a second book about Ellie. And while Hour of the Rat wraps up tidily, there were enough character issues left unresolved that more books seem very likely.

This is good, since I've liked the first two a lot, though I do fear that the Ellie McEnroe series
Ramsey Hootman
Can't afford airfare to China? Tag along with Ellie McEnroe... you'll see everything the "authentic traveler" dreams of: the back alleys, local dives, and idyllic off-the-beaten-path towns where natives still gawk at Westerners. And since this is fiction, you also get to experience the visceral thrills of Chinese intrigue, from lowlife thugs to high rollers with so much clout in the CCP that they're untouchable.

Hour of the Rat is a weird, cool hybrid - travel narrative plus mystery. Brackmann i
May 19, 2013 Pat rated it it was amazing
Hour of the Rat Review

If you are looking for a genre-conforming, action packed thriller with all the details tied up in an easy, pretty bow for you at the end, this is not the book you’re looking for. If you, however, prefer a book with deep characterizations, exquisite descriptions, a terrifying real-world conspiracy, and action that occurs in sudden bursts of sheer terror, set in a county that is both surreally beautiful and maddeningly baffling, then this book should be at the top of your rea
Kate Sherwood
Jul 30, 2015 Kate Sherwood rated it it was ok
I thought I was going to really like this book, based on the description, and I did really enjoy the first 1/4 or so. But then... it just got really repetitive (Heroine goes somewhere in rural China, drinks beer and takes Percocet, stumbles on a bit of information, gets threatened by locals and rescued by a man/improbable situation; lather, rinse, repeat).

And the ending was REALLY unsatisfying. Is her leg seriously re-injured? Don't know. (If it isn't, why'd we have to hear so much about it?). I
Catherine McKenzie
Apr 18, 2013 Catherine McKenzie rated it it was amazing
When ex-pat and Iraq War vet Ellie McEnroe is contacted by her old army buddy to help track down his missing brother, Ellie figures she can give some peace of mind to an old friend and see some more of her adopted home, China. What follows is a suspenseful and often surprising ride through back alleys, dumpling shops, the art world and virtual reality.

I really enjoyed Ellie's first adventure in Rock, Paper, Tiger, and it was nice to see Brackmann come back to her here. Ellie is the perfect mix
Aug 26, 2013 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction, thriller
I am so glad Lisa Brackmann wrote another story about Ellie McEnroe. The first one, "Rock, Paper, Tiger" was very dark and left me worried about Ellie. So Lisa has done me the favor of catching me up with Ellie again, and she is okay! Well, sort of.

Ellie's mom is in Beijing, staying with her for a seemingly never-ending visit. And Mom has taken up with one of Ellie's neighbors, Andy, which Ellie finds a bit... awkward. Then there is the extremely persistent assistant, Vicky Huang, who won't stop
Cathy Doyle
Jan 31, 2013 Cathy Doyle rated it really liked it
Soho Crime kindly gave me a pre-pub copy of this book at a recent conference. It's the second book in the series. Ellie McEnroe is a Iraqi War vet, injured in the conflict. She's moved to Beijing, where she's an artist rep for a politically incorrect artist that the security forces would like to talk to. Ellie decides to leave town for a while, with her mother and her new boyfriend in tow, to look for the brother of an old army buddy. Things are not as they seem as Ellie ducks and weaves in her ...more
Ann Mah
Feb 06, 2013 Ann Mah rated it it was amazing
China is a brilliant setting for a thriller and Lisa Brackmann really, really gets the place. This book made me so nostalgic for my expat days in Beijing, I put it down only to scarf dumplings.
Aug 19, 2013 Jaylia3 rated it it was amazing
While Hour of the Rat could be read as a stand-alone, after the first few chapters I really wanted more context and character back-story, so I downloaded and read the first book, Rock Paper Tiger, on my Kindle, after which much of my weekend was consumed by the two books. Both books are set in China and excel at giving the reader a vivid and fascinating sense of place, and both books also have something that was new for me and I thought very cool--scenes set in online computer games.

Since the e
Jennifer Prim
Jun 26, 2013 Jennifer Prim rated it it was amazing
Welcome back Ellie! Lately, I've happened to read quite a few great, well-written stories with completely unlikeable characters, and what a relief to read a great, well-written story with a character you're actually rooting for! Ellie is perfect in her fully flawed imperfection, and the story kept me on the edge of my seat - will she find Jason? What is he really up to? And will we find out more about the mysterious disappearance of Zhang? I absolutely fell in love with one of the characters Ell ...more
Feb 23, 2014 James rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who enjoy thrillers & international intrigue or want a close-up view of China
Hour of the Rat is the second novel featuring Ellie McEnroe, an American living in current day China. Ellie is a former Iraq vet who has a knack for making friends who are viewed suspiciously by the national authorities. She tries to do a favor for a former war buddy named Dog and this sends her off on a mission to find the brother of Dog, a young man named Jason, who has disappeared after making some videos that have been posted to the net.

Her quest attracts the attentions of the Domestic Secur
Richard Burger
Jul 21, 2013 Richard Burger rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of Hour of the Rat, and within a couple weeks I had read it twice. It's that good.

Lisa Brackmann set a tall order for herself in writing a sequel to Rock Paper Tiger, her debut novel that established her as a perceptive critic of contemporary China and a writer capable of creating characters we truly care about (or loathe) and a story line that captivates. The hero, Elle McEnroe, is still popping Percocets to deal with the pain of a leg wound she suf
May 24, 2013 Susan rated it it was amazing
Several years ago I was taken by Lisa Brackmann's debut novel, ROCK PAPER TIGER, so was anxious to read the sequel. I loved the Ellie McEnroe character. She's spunky and brazen, and can compete with any man.

In THE HOUR OF THE RAT, she's back in Beijing, this time sharing her apartment with her flaky mother. Mom McEnroe, who has been unlucky in love, starts a relationship with a middle aged Chinese neighbor named Andy. Ellie wants nothing to do with the lovebirds and quickly becomes sidetracked w
Robert Carraher
Jul 21, 2013 Robert Carraher rated it it was amazing
Lisa Brackmann’s new novel, Hour of the Rat promised to be a very good international crime thriller and it lives up to that billing very well. The second in what promises to be a very important series, bringing back Ellie Cooper from her electrifying debut, 2010’s Rock Paper Tiger, and what an encore performance it is.

Ellie McEnroe is an Iraqi war vet, constantly reminded of the wound she suffered to her leg and haunted by her experiences in the war. Having followed her now ex-husband ,a one tim
Jun 28, 2013 Amanda rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Disclaimer: I received this book directly from the publisher as part of the GoodReads First Reads giveaway. My copy is an ARC and the book has been edited for the final version.

Disclaimer 2: I have not read the first in this series, Rock Paper Tiger.

With all of that said, I'm not totally sold on this book. Ellie is some odd cross between "look at me, I'm bad-ass" and "oh no I f***ed everything up again, cry, cry." Don't get me wrong, I like her to some degree, but as a main character she just d
Mar 08, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway and I'm so glad I did. Usually I don't go for this genre, but it intrigued me based on the title because I was born in the year of the rat, just like the main character. I have lived abroad in Asia and love to travel, so I gave it a shot.

This is a great thriller/mystery/road book. I was captivated the whole time; Brackmann really does a good job with the fast pace and interesting characters, not to mention all the great twists and turns. I haven't yet been to C
Jaime Boler
Jun 17, 2013 Jaime Boler rated it it was amazing
Shelves: june-2013
I love everything Lisa writes so I just had to interview her.

Jaime Boler: Thank you so much, Lisa, for letting me ask you these questions. I’ve always been a huge fan of yours from your Rock Paper Tiger days and Hour of the Rat is a clever, taut sequel. You have worked as an executive at a major motion picture studio, as an issues researcher for a presidential campaign, and as a singer/songwriter/bassist in a rock band. What made you want to write novels?

Lisa Brackmann: I really wanted to write
Apr 20, 2013 MD rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I truly enjoyed this book. It is a fast read with an interesting main character and setting.

Ellie is a recent Iraq veteran living in Beijing. She has personal baggage that helps make her feel real and interesting including a leg injury from Iraq that affects her quality of life. The author also gives her a just enough attitude to make her feel fun , not rude or crude. The dialog in this book is first class.

It's a good thing that Ellie is a strong character because her costar in this book is Chin
S. L.
Apr 01, 2013 S. L. rated it really liked it
Ellie McEnroe is one strong women. She has a past she would rather forget, which is exactly why she chooses to help her friend find his brother, Jason.
Ellie takes us through the Chinese villages and countryside as she searches for Jason. She has the Chinese Secret service watching her every move and following her. Meanwhile, Jason leaves behind a series of bread crumbs that leads her from one place to another as the "vacation" quickly gets out of hand.
This novel is very intriguing and knowled
Feb 26, 2013 Danielle rated it it was amazing
Reading another story about Ellie was a joy for me. I enjoyed Year of the Tiger when I read it a few years ago, and Hour of the Rat does not disappoint. Expect twists. Expect violence and adventure. But, most of all, expect Brackmann's wonderful prose.
Nathan Bransford
Mar 21, 2013 Nathan Bransford rated it it was amazing
Such an amazing series! Already can't wait for the next installment.
Deborah Gray
Jul 09, 2013 Deborah Gray rated it really liked it
Ellie McEnroe can't ever seem to catch a break. She's an Iraq war vet with a permanent leg injury living in China, representing a talented, rising artist. She has made her home there, as we learned in the first book (which I highly recommend reading) and really just wants to chill and get on with her new life. When her eccentric mother comes to visit and starts a relationship with the next door neighbour, Ellie knows life is not going to become easier, and she's right.

With suspicious Chinese au
Jul 18, 2013 Monica rated it really liked it
Oh goody - it's very nearly as good as Rock, Paper, Tiger. Ellie McEnroe is living in Beijing, representing the work of her artist friend Zhang Jianli, who is in hiding. Ellie's Jesus loving, sex loving mother is staying with her on an extended visit, and becoming attracted to their next door neighbor, a nice enough fellow with some interesting Chinese religio-medical habits like anal constriction and denting navel.

Suddenly a couple of heavies from the domestic security forces show up demanding
Heather Fineisen
Feb 18, 2013 Heather Fineisen rated it liked it
Shelves: net-galley
An Iraq War veteran, recovering from a leg injury is a new type of heroine really for a new era. I haven't seen many entries thus far that capture the current type of sleuth being born, from the loins of wars with drones and wifi coverage in remote places. And this story is about eco-terrorism and mutant seed creations. Brackmann is knowledgeble about the regions in China, the politics, the food, and is strongest in her descriptions. Ellie, our veteran, has a potty mouth that sometimes reminds m ...more
Apr 06, 2013 Olga rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I really enjoyed this book. I'm not typically a proponent of colloquial writing but this one read naturally, as though someone was really telling me a story. What's more, the someone telling me the story didn't expect me to remember every detail and reminded me of the ones I'd forgotten when they slipped my mind. The use of Chinese was not overbearing, reminded the reader that the story is taking place in China with am American, somewhat new to Chinese, and the Chinese with the, naturally, under ...more
Nov 02, 2013 J.D. rated it liked it
The protagonist is engaging, the local color and descriptions of life in modern China are fascinating, and the writing is top-notch. Problem is, the story doesn't finish. The book just ends, and not even on a cliffhanger. Nothing is resolved, the situation is still as perilous as it ever was, and the reader, one supposes, just has to buy the next volume to find out what happens next. This always annoys me. I don't mind series, and I don't even mind story arcs that go from book to book, but I jus ...more
L.A. Starks
Nov 27, 2015 L.A. Starks rated it really liked it
Superb book. Turns out I'm reading the trilogy in reverse order, so I liked Dragon Day more. Chinese locations are extremely well-drawn, the seed subplot felt incomplete. The f-bomb gets a bit old though it fits well with the character of the protag.
Lori Paximadis
Mar 03, 2014 Lori Paximadis rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and the first one in the series, Rock Paper Tiger. 4.5 for each of them. They're thrillers set in China revolving around the misadventures of an American Iraq War vet trying to put her life back together. Yes, you have to suspend some disbelief re: coincidences, characters with nine lives, and all that, but that's par for the genre. The descriptions of the country and day-to-day life there really captured my imagination; because I am only vaguely familiar with China fr ...more
Sep 05, 2014 Susan rated it it was ok
Even though Iraq War veteran Ellie McEnroe knows little about art, she manages to make a living in Beijing representing the work of controversial artist Zhang Jianli. When an old Army buddy, Dog Turner, pleads with her to find his unstable brother Jason who has disappeared somewhere in China, Ellie agrees to help. Her search takes her to a number of locations that the author certainly made me want to visit. This is by far the best part of the book. Unfortunately, I did not find Ellie a likeable ...more
Dec 22, 2015 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, setting-asia
I didn't realize this book was a sequel to Rock, Paper, Tiger when I picked it up -- had I realized, I might have given it a miss as I am generally a stickler for reading series or books with recurring characters in order. That probably would have been a good idea in this case, as Iraq War vet turned Chinese dissident artist's agent Ellie McEnroe is a colorful enough character to warrant having her backstory explained. Meeting her in this book for the first time, I was a bit lost at times as to ...more
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Lisa Brackmann has worked as an executive at a major motion picture studio, an issues researcher in a presidential campaign, and the singer/songwriter/bassist in an LA rock band. She still takes pride in her karaoke-ready repertoire of bad pop hits and an embarrassing number of show tunes. A Southern California native, she recently returned to her hometown, San Diego CA, and has lived and traveled ...more
More about Lisa Brackmann...

Other Books in the Series

Ellie McEnroe (3 books)
  • Rock Paper Tiger (Ellie McEnroe, #1)
  • Dragon Day (Ellie McEnroe, #3)

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