Hour of the Rat (Ellie McEnroe, #2)
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Hour of the Rat (Ellie McEnroe #2)

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  204 ratings  ·  74 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...more
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 1,226)
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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...more
Oct 04, 2013 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
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...more
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...more
Catherine McKenzie
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...more
Kate Sherwood
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/improbably 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...more
Cathy Doyle
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
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.
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...more
Amanda Wheet
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...more
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...more
Apr 20, 2013 MD rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
Jennifer Prim
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 4 of 5 stars
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...more
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...more
Richard Burger
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...more
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
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...more
Robert Carraher
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...more
Jaime Boler
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...more
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
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
S. L.
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...more
Joel Paige
I became engrossed in this book up to about halfway point, but then I found myself waiting for some real suspense. The environmental talk was interesting and thought provoking but that was probably the most interesting part. The adventures of Ellie were rather boring and the ending was a major let down. It literally just ended.
Ellie McEnroe is a hard-bitten, war-weary tough-gal ex-soldier with a leg injury and an addiction to Percocet, beer, men and mysteries. So far so good, but as she lurches through the book seemingly irreparably re-injuring her leg time after time, sleeping with men she despises, alternately lying to and dodging her long-suffering mother, and cleverly getting herself into one fix after another only to be rescued each and every time by one of the aforementioned men, it just becomes more and more te...more
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.
Lori Paximadis
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
Nathan Bransford
Such an amazing series! Already can't wait for the next installment.
Deborah Gray
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...more
Ben Campbell
My oh my. I didn't expect, as a sequel to Rock Paper Tiger, that Hour of the Rat wouldn't hold my attention. Ellie Cooper is less cagey than she is smart for Hour of the Rat. The plot was angled with critical observations, Percocet and beer, dappled sub-plotting with her mother and infomercial man-friend, all the while searching uneven crevices and nooks in smelly backward China and polluted Chinese cities, and cohosting with Chinese authorities, I got it, I get it. But, while reading, I felt di...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 lives in Venice CA, and has lived and traveled extensively in China.

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