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The Red Pole of Macau (Ava Lee #4)

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  808 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews

In Ian Hamilton's The Red Pole of Macau, family ties are stressed to the limit when intrepid forensic accountant Ava Lee must rescue her half brother, Michael, and his business partner, Simon, from a disastrous multimillion-dollar real-estate deal in Macau. When the developers turn out to be gangsters, Michael and Simon are threatened wi
Paperback, 305 pages
Published December 31st 2013 by Picador (first published June 20th 2012)
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Sep 03, 2016 Skip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still recovering from all of her jet setting in the last book, Ava is compelled to travel to Hong Kong to help her half-brother, Michael, who is in serious trouble in connection with developing a mall in Macau for the Chinese. His local partners are demanding more money without having started construction. Michael's partners are ex-Triad businessmen, who are surprised by Ava's violent defense when things turn ugly. Michael's business partner is taken hostage, and Ava is forced to ask Uncle and a ...more
Sep 21, 2013 Trish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is the mainstream mystery-reading public ready for a lesbian leading lady? I think so, especially when that lead is someone like Ava Lee, so controlled, fastidious, and (can I say?) moral in her professional work, she does not push her sexuality to the forefront. This book opens, however, “to the sensation of lips kissing her forehead. She opened her eyes to semi-darkness and saw her girlfriend, Maria, hovering over her, her face in shadow.” Ava understands that others might have reservations ab ...more
Dec 30, 2012 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys thrillers
I downloaded this ebook for free as part of Apple's 12 Days of Christmas free apps. This is the first ebook I've read on my iPhone and actually didn't mind it. I can see the appeal of ereaders!

I am not familiar with Ian Hamilton's Ava Lee series of books, but I would definitely read another one. I love that Ava Lee, the protagonist, is a strong young woman doing what most people are used to reading about men doing: helping the good guys. She figures out the problem and works with a network of s
This was a wonderful escapist thrill read! I so enjoy the intelligent competent Ava Lee who gives an exciting twist to being a forensic accountant. Her job is to recover missing money and valuable possessions in touchy delicate situations often with unsavory persons. In this book, she takes on an assignment that is personal and while Ava is razor-sharp as always, she needs to delicately balance her family dynamics against what is necessary to save her half-brother’s business and his partners lif ...more
Rebecca Martin
I would give this one 3.5 stars if I could. I've read all of the books in the series that are available in the US at this point and I think this one's the best. What made this one more enjoyable than the others? The plot featured much less jetting around all over the globe and focused more on two locales: Hong Kong and, especially, Macau. I think it gave a good sense of how quickly Macau has gone from being an island with its own complex ethnic history and traditions and its own sordid past to a ...more
Sep 17, 2012 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, canadian
The Red Pole of Macau features forensic accountant Ava Lee who is a kickass heroine. Yes, I said accountant and kickass in the same sentence. In addition to a calculator, Ava possesses some scary martial arts skills. She is called to Hong Kong to help her half brother Michael who she has only met once. He and his business partner, Simon, bought into an investment in Macau with a property developer. A year later, nothing has happened with the property and the developer is demanding an additional ...more
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Jan 05, 2013 Parth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was the first time for me, when I read an entire ebook on my 4 inch iPod touch, and it wasn't a bad experience at all! I really enjoyed Ian Hamilton's writing. It was the first of Ava Lee series books that I've read, and it was full of thrill! I really liked how the author described various Macau and Hong Kong plots and how the story took place! It was a bit boring at start, but after that it was really thrilling and interesting! I finished it in one day, which was quite fast for me regarding ...more
I read this book for my PhD graduate class, "Routes and Roots: Globalisation and Culture". It was a light, James Bond-esque novel about Ava Lee, a Canadian-Chinese forensic accountant - more like, martial artist accountant - who comes to her brother's aid when he and his business partner enter a bad business deal in Macau.

Given that I'm supposed to focus on globalisation, I found it incredibly hard to do so, as every mention of food side-tracked me! Every meeting Ava had with May Ling, Uncle, A
Tony Parsons
Jul 31, 2014 Tony Parsons rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ava Lee (forensic accountant) & her -brother Michael Lee would like to make a $150 million real estate deal in Macau. The developers Ma Shing Reality Corporation (David Chi, Wu, Kao Lok) are threatening to halt the construction of the Millennium Food Partnership (7-11 convenient stores & noodle shops) unless Michael Lee & Simon To his business partner put up front another $80 million. The meeting with everyone in hopes of coming to a mutual agreement did not go very well.

Michael &am
Feb 28, 2014 Beverly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful escapist thrill read! I so enjoy the intelligent competent Ava Lee who gives an exciting twist to being a forensic accountant. Her job is to recover missing money and valuable possessions in touchy delicate situations often with unsavory persons. In this book, she takes on an assignment that is personal and while Ava is razor-sharp as always, she needs to delicately balance her family dynamics against what is necessary to save her half-brother’s business and his partners lif ...more
I read this cause I got it free from Apple and I left my books in Bac Lieu.

This is my first Ava Lee novel and while it was interesting enough, it seemed rather simplistic. There was no suspense and the action was short lived. Ava is supposedly an accountant but her skills there were barely used.

But, the characters were entertaining, albeit one dimensional.

Probably won't read the others unless I get them free.
This book seems to be leading toward a change in direction. Ava is taking more of a role in the organization of the entire process and Uncle is guiding her to being more independent and toward a possible new business partner?
It also starting filling in some details of the rest of her extended family, her eldest half brother and his fiance have large roles in this story and her father figures far more in this one than in any other.
While there is a less than usual amount of international traveli
Kim Lo
Jul 08, 2014 Kim Lo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If its even possible, Ava Lee in this 4th installment became even more likable. This time, the issue is with her half brother and his partner and the sneaky and ruthless triad members in Macau. Not travelling as much but rather just set between Hong Kong and Macau. The simple setting gave it a different feeling. At the same time, this time it wasn't an official case with her actual partnership like usual but this time it had a lot of more personal stakes. Carrying forward with some previous char ...more
Feb 25, 2014 Marcia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-modern, asia
- This is labeled on Goodreads as #4, but my copy said it was #3.

- It's a much stronger story than #2; from my perspective #2 functions more as a setup for #3 than as a story unto itself.

- I figured out what bothers me about the storytelling - the story in #3 was compelling enough so that I didn't want to put the book down, but the *tone* of the storytelling never changes. There's as much urgency in the climax as there is in the setup - which is to say, not much at all. I suppose that's because
Jun 09, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Another whirlwind of action as Ava hurriedly leaves Canada for Hong Kong to help her half-brother with a financial deal gone bad; a deal that could affect the family's financial future. Michael, her half-brother, and his business partner, Simon, have unknowingly negotiated a deal with a gangster who is now extorting money from them. Ava meets with them, gets into a fight and breaks one of the gangster's arms. The gangster is known as "The Red Pole of Macau." The two naive business partners then ...more
Tale number 4 in this always entertaining series centered on forensic accountant and lost object retriever Ava Lee. This time out the Canadian based daughter of powerful Chinese interests comes up against some very nasty Triad operatives who have put Ava's half brothers life and business at risk Ava is confronted with some serious personal and moral dilemmas as she tries to walk a fine line between tricky and truly deadly. Again, food, clothes, hotels and the customs of Chinese tough guys all pl ...more
Mar 02, 2014 Shira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chocolate
Oh, Ava. You lost a little innocence in this book, didn't you? So enjoyable, as always.

I cannot help but compare Ava Lee to John Rain and John Wells. And while I love spending an evening with both those men, I find that I enjoy Ava Lee's company equally. Very simply, she helps people get their money back--she's not saving the Western world from a terrorist attack, or keeping us safe from oligarchies within, but she helps her characters out in a very real way, while letting me travel on her coatt
James Sorensen
Aug 16, 2014 James Sorensen rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book as part of the Goodreads First-Read program.

"The Red Pole of Macau" is the forth book in author Ian Hamilton's Ava Lee series. Ava Lee is a forensic accountant by trade, which allows her to use her knowledge to recover money that has been stolen or swindled from the clients she helps. The interesting thing about this book is that she doesn't use any of her professional knowledge in this book, so I'm not really sure how a forensic accountant is supposed to go about his/her busines
Toni Osborne
Book 4, in the Ava Lee series

This series is a light read, mostly fast paced, quite entertaining and never fails to arouse my interest. Ava, the heroine is finely drawn and so different to the usual protagonist I simply cannot stay away and I am always looking forward to read all of her next challenges and see how she will tackle them. It has been entertaining so far….

The protagonist is a very kick butt and in charge type of character although she does show a vulnerable and soft side when it come
Rachel Kramer Bussel
The Ava Lee series keeps getting better and better. I was blown away by this book, in which Ava is on a job that's personal, to help her half-brother. Even though she doesn't have to help, let alone go to the great lengths she does and place herself in so much danger, she does, and Hamilton makes it clear she wouldn't have it any other way. She's loyal, and she likes a challenge, though this one is a doozy. Her brother has gotten himself into a situation in Macau where he and his partner have su ...more
Jan 21, 2013 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kevin by: Apple
This was an Apple freebie at Christmas time. I like free music. I don't mind wagering 3 minutes while I do something else, but I have previously shunned free books. Just to see, though, I had a quick look at the first page, and it swept me up.

The compelling writing continued throughout the book. It is part of a continuing series about a lesbian forensic accountant trained in martial arts, resident in Toronto, but with ties to Hong Kong, including possible ties to the Triads, and her own complex
Catherine Woodman
Sep 27, 2014 Catherine Woodman rated it liked it
Ana is a lesbian bad ass Asian woman who is a fixer. She has underworld connections and her methods are not entirely legal, but she returns things to people and she is well paid for her talents. Her father has asked her to go to Hong Kong to help her half brother Michael and his very unlikable partner Simon get out of some hot water that they have naively gotten themselves into, and while lots of things go wrong, Ana handles it bravely. And she eats very well along the way (which definitely made ...more
Neill Smith
Jul 22, 2014 Neill Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ava Lee rarely heard from her father's first and third families so when the eldest son of the first family contacted her she was surprised. When she realized the implications of his problem and the ramifications for her family she knew she had to help him. She hoped to do so without including anyone outside her family - until she realized that this was related to the triads and was far beyond either her capabilities or even her knowledge. This was a problem that involved all her skill and many i ...more
May 21, 2013 Asta rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The adventures of Ava Lee, a Chinese Canadian lesbian forensic accountant have been entertaining enough to keep me reading through the series, although the use of brands to describe the character is more grating than ever.
In the Red Pole of Macau, we meet Ava's less than savvy half-brother and learn much more about her partner Uncle's past and how these connections intersect and both ease and complicate her life.
Despite all this, Ava herself is still a cipher. Her motives for her decisions never
Apr 24, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 stars, leaning toward 4. I got this eBook for free on a promotion a few years ago and it sat on my "to be read" shelf ... I have to admit I didn't expect to like it. The setup seemed so stereotypical- lesbian protagonist, international espionage ... and after all, if a book has to be given away for free, how good can it be? Happily, I was wrong. I loved Ava, and she along with May and Amanda are strong and human central characters. In fact, the male characters (with the exception of Uncle ...more
Jim Puskas
Aug 18, 2015 Jim Puskas rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Seems to me that Ian Hamilton started to run out of ideas with successive Ava Lee books. In the #1 The Water Rat of Wanchai, Ava displayed a terrific arsenal of crafty tricks to track down the people who made off with someone else's money. Her style, resourcefulness and skill in martial arts all added up to a fascinating character. But with successive books, it all begins to grow a bit thin and she increasingly resorts to brute force, helped along by some conveniently available guanxi (influence ...more
Red Pole of Macau introduced me to a smart, feisty, resourceful female detective. (It is the first Ava Lee mystery I have read.) She is also an accountant. I was intrigued. The other aspect of the novel I liked was the Hong Kong/Macau setting where Ava has travelled to help her half brother and his partner with a business deal that has seriously (life-threateningly) gone bad. (Ava also has an interesting family.) What didn’t work so well for me was the plot which I found predictable. Also, I fou ...more
Diane W
Feb 01, 2014 Diane W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Ian Hamilton book I have read...not really my genre. I'm more the Debbie Macomber type reader. But have to tell you I really liked this book. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I'm from Toronto and feel a bit of a kinship wit Ava...I don't know. The book is very fast moving and easy to read and to follow the characters. I'm wondering if all of Ian Hamilton's books are like this. Looking forward to reading another.
Nov 10, 2013 Huckleberry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, thriller
This Ava Lee book was very different than the first three and I have to admit I was disappointed as I had higher expectations. In fact the third book lead me to believe that this series was going to continue to get better.

In this one the action takes place in Hong Kong and Macau. Unlike the previous books where Ava is jumping from city to city all over the globe. It also is more of a thriller than a mystery and most of the book is working on a plan that you know will ultimately work. There is no
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Ian Hamilton has been a journalist, a senior executive with the federal government, a diplomat, and a businessman with international links. He has written for several magazines and newspapers in Canada and the U.S., including Maclean's, Boston Magazine, Saturday Night, Regina Leader Post, Calgary Albertan, and the Calgary Herald. His nonfiction book, The Children's Crusade, was a Canadian Book of ...more
More about Ian Hamilton...

Other Books in the Series

Ava Lee (9 books)
  • The Water Rat of Wanchai (Ava Lee, #1)
  • The Disciple of Las Vegas (Ava Lee, #2)
  • The Wild Beasts of Wuhan (Ava Lee, #3)
  • The Scottish Banker of Surabaya (Ava Lee, #5)
  • The Two Sisters of Borneo (Ava Lee, #6)
  • The King of Shanghai (Ava Lee, #7)
  • The Princeling of Nanjing (Ava Lee, #8)
  • The Couturier of Milan (Ava Lee, #9)

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