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The Missing American (An Emma Djan Investigation) Paperback – December 8, 2020

4.1 out of 5 stars 360 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Winner of the 2021 Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel
A 2021 Edgar Nominee for Best Novel

A 2021
Strand Magazine Critics Awards Best Novel Nominee
An NPR Favorite Book of 2020
A
Washington Post Best Thriller and Mystery Book of 2020
Amazon Best Book of the Month in Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Praise for
The Missing American

“A lonely widower from Washington, D.C., goes missing in Ghana after he’s duped in a trans-Atlantic love scam blessed by an influential fetish priest. Emma Djan, a 26-year-old newbie private investigator in Accra, immerses herself in the world of sakawa Internet fraud and finds that it reaches the upper echelons of power in the West African country, putting her in mortal danger. The Missing American is a mystery and thriller that kept me spellbound—and rooting for Emma.”
NPR

“A much-deserved Edgar nominee, set in Accra, Ghana...great series potential.”
The Boston Globe

“Remarkably rare . . . a gem of a debut.” 
The Washington Post

“The adventures of a tenacious African female sleuth will likely ring bells for fans of Alexander McCall Smith’s best-selling Mma. Precious Ramotswe mysteries.
The Missing American’s unflinching portrayal of Ghanaian criminals, their fetish priest handlers and corruption at the highest levels makes this intriguing debut a more bracing antidote to its cozier cousin.”
Los Angeles Times

“An evocative new series.” 
The Seattle Times

“A suspenseful, atmospheric novel of desperation, corruption and murder.” 
MinneapolisStar Tribune

“In
The Missing American, Quartey explores the phenomenon of Sakawa, an internet fraud that incorporates religious practices and superstition . . . [he] keeps the action quiet as he poignantly relies more on what motivates people, looking at both the scammers and their victims, and Ghana’s political arena . . . Should be the start of another long-running series for Quartey.”
Oline Cogdill, The South Florida Sun Sentinel

“An engrossing race through the mean streets of Accra and beyond. Colloquial language, local sights and sounds, the food and culture create a vivid backdrop to the disappearance and the investigation.”
Sunday Times (South Africa)

“Mr. Quartey combines African internet scams, a menacing juju priest and political corruption with a cast of unforgettable characters, led by the formidable young Emma, who could easily become my favorite new detective. The sounds, sights, troubles and aspirations of modern-day Ghana are revealed with an unsparing eye and an understanding heart.” 
—Michael Sears, Edgar Award–winning author of the Jason Stafford series

“In this twisty page-turner featuring an appealing new protagonist, Kwei Quartey delves into the dark domain of the Ghanaian internet fraudsters. The 'sakawa boys' play their victims like game fish, but they are only part of a vicious web of corruption and witchcraft that reaches all the way to the top. Rich with the colors of Ghana, this is great Sunshine Noir.” 
—Michael Stanley, author of the award–winning Detective Kubu novels

The Missing American is diabolically plotted and elegantly written. An atmospheric, heart-pounding mystery that just may be Quartey’s best—and that’s saying a lot.”
—Stephen Mack Jones, Nero Prize and Hammett Award–winning author of the August Snow thrillers

Sakawa scams abound, overlaid with a witch doctor (or two) and a trio of likable, if occasionally gullible, protagonists. My prediction: We will be seeing Emma Djan again.”
BookPage

“Appealingly complex . . . You’ll want to be an early adopter of this series everyone is sure to be talking about.”
CrimeReads

“[A] gripping series opener.”
—Stop, You're Killing Me!

“An excellent police procedural series.”
Reviewing the Evidence

“Armchair detectives, this one’s for you. Kwei Quartey’s new series transports readers to Accra, Ghana to follow a young detective just starting to make a name for herself . . . This mystery will keep you guessing until the final pages.”
Bookish

“Fans of Quartey’s Darko Dawson series ready for another armchair visit to Ghana will be pleased to meet Emma Djan, introduced here in the same riveting blend of mystery and literary travel guide. After a horrifying #MeToo moment brings an abrupt end to Emma's police career, she is taken on by a private detective agency . . . There is an amazing force to be reckoned with behind [Emma's] veil of politeness, and readers will want to hear more from Emma.”
Booklist, Starred Review

“Quartey’s writing is visceral, with lush descriptions of the scenes as well as his (large) cast of characters . . . This promising series debut from the acclaimed Quartey ("Darko Dawson" mysteries) introduces the formidable Emma, and most important, the culture and politics of Ghana.”
Library Journal

“Notable for its Ghanaian atmosphere and its densely imagined criminal web in which every point is connected to every other.”
Kirkus Reviews

“[A] solid series launch . . . Readers will welcome Emma into the ranks of capable female detectives.” 
Publishers Weekly

“An eye opening read that will long be remembered.”
—Fresh Fiction

“[A] superb sense of place . . . Readers can feel as though they’re actually in Ghana while they read; the landscape, weather, people, food, and culture give the story a richness that I find irresistible.” 
—Kittling Books

“A fast-paced, exciting tale of email scams, missing persons, and fetish priests in the world’s internet capital—Ghana. If you’re old enough to remember Murder, She Wrote, you’ll probably love this fresh take on a tenacious female detective who will stop at nothing to uncover the truth.”
—Dango Books

Praise for Kwei Quartey

“A sensitive novel of powerful family passions, set in the unique and vivid colors of Ghana.”
—Anne Perry

“Quartey provides such a strong sense of Ghana that you’ll be wishing for a platter of kenkey, a staple food made from fermented corn, to keep you from biting your nails to the quick.”
—Oprah.com

“An absolute gem . . . Undoubtedly will be compared with Alexander McCall Smith’s phenomenally successful
No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series.”
Los Angeles Times

“[Quartey] renders a compelling cast of characters inhabiting a world precariously perched between old and new . . . Intriguing.”
Booklist, Starred Review


About the Author

Kwei Quartey is a crime fiction writer and retired physician based in Pasadena, California. Quartey was born in Ghana, West Africa, to a Ghanaian father and a black American mother, both of whom were lecturers at the University of Ghana. His novel Wife of the Gods made the Los Angeles Times bestseller list in 2009. The following year, the National Book Club voted him Best Male Author. He has two mystery series set in Ghana: the Detective Inspector Darko Dawson investigations  and the Emma Djan investigations.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Soho Crime (December 8, 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 448 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1641292121
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1641292122
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 13.6 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.1 out of 5 stars 360 ratings

About the author

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KWEI QUARTEY BIO

Kwei Quartey is a crime fiction writer and physician living in Pasadena, California. Having practiced medicine for more than 20 years while simultaneously working as a writer, he has attained noteworthy achievements in both fields. Kwei balances the two professions by dedicating the early morning hours to writing before beginning a day in his clinic.

He was born in Ghana, West Africa, to a Ghanaian father and black American mother, both of whom were lecturers at the University of Ghana. Kwei describes how his family's home was full of hundreds of books, both fiction and nonfiction, which inspired him to write novelas as early as the age of eight or nine. By then, Kwei was certain he wanted to be an author.

But his interests shifted by the time he was a teenager: he now wanted to be a doctor. Kwei began on a science-to-medicine track in secondary school. After the death of his father, Kwei's mother decided to return to the United States. By then, Kwei had already begun medical school in Ghana. Getting into a medical school in the US wasn't easy, but Kwei successfully gained admission to Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

It was after graduation from his residency training that Kwei Quartey returned to his love of writing. He went to a UCLA extension course in creative writing, and wrote two novels while in a writing group that met every Wednesday evening. But it would be many years before Kwei would create the Inspector Darko Dawson series.

As a crime fiction writer, Kwei made the Los Angeles Times Bestseller List in 2009. The following year, the G.O.G. National Book Club awarded him the title of Best Male Author. The five Inspector Darko Dawson novels, set in Ghana, are WIFE OF THE GODS, CHILDREN OF THE STREET, MURDER AT CAPE THREE POINTS, GOLD OF OUR FATHERS, and DEATH BY HIS GRACE.

Two novels, KAMILA and DEATH AT THE VOYAGER HOTEL (ebook) are non-Darko books.

Kwei says he tries to go through everything Inspector Darko Dawson, his protagonist, experiences. For instance, in MURDER AT CAPE THREE POINTS, Kwei underwent training to enable him to travel on a chopper taking oil workers from shore to the deep sea rig, which is what occurrs in the story. The training includes how to escape from a helicopter that has crashed in the ocean. Trainees, seated in a mock chopper cabin, must get out of the cabin after it is submerged in a deep pool and then inverted. Kwei did NOT do very well at this, although he managed to pass the course by the skin of his teeth.

Watch the trailer for Kwei Quartey's his next novel, DEATH BY HIS GRACE, due out August 29, 2017 at http://bit.ly/2lKxfqY

Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5
360 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 10, 2021

Top reviews from other countries

Lagoon
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on January 15, 2020
alex joseph
1.0 out of 5 stars No real depth
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 14, 2021
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Ann Cederhall Ljung
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read loved every minute
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 11, 2020
Carolyn
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting mystery set in Ghana
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on January 19, 2021
lls
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hell of A Good Story
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on November 8, 2020
One person found this helpful
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