Emma Djan #3
Last Seen In Lapaz
Just as things at work are slowing down for PI Emma Djan, an old friend of her boss’s asks for help locating his missing daughter. According to her father, Ngozi had a bright future ahead of her when she became secretive and withdrawn. Suddenly, all she wanted to do was be with her handsome new beau, Femi, instead of attending law school in the fall. So when she disappears from her parents’ house in Nigeria the middle of a summer night, they immediately suspect Femi was behind it and have reason to believe the pair has fled to Accra.
During Emma’s first week on the case, Femi is found murdered at his opulent residence in Accra. There are no signs of Ngozi at the scene, and fearing the worst, Emma digs further, discovering that Femi was part of a network of sex traffickers across West Africa.
Emma must figure out which of Femi’s many enemies killed him, but more urgently, she must find Ngozi before she, too, is murdered in cold blood.
Praise for Last Seen In Lapaz
"Kwei Quartey's Last Seen in Lapaz is a true reward. A daring, ingenious thriller propelled by strong women, ceaseless intrigue and scintillating prose."
—Kalisha Buckhanon, author of Speaking of Summer
“From Lagos to Ghana, and through the Sahara to Libya,
Last Seen in Lapaz is a story that is as gripping as it is important.”
—Leye Adenle, author of Easy Motion Tourist
“Kwei Quartey’s Last Seen In Lapaz is a Murder Mystery You Won’t Be Able To Put Down.”
--Kuhelika Ghosh, Brittle Paper
“The landscape is quite real as are all of his characters. I never want his books to end
📖Plot development - Outstanding
📖Character development- Out of this world
📖Writing style- Impeccable
📖Plot development – Outstanding
--Lady Tamakloe (Goodreads)
"What distinguishes Quartey's books from so many others are the strength of his writing, his plotting and character development, and his increasing focus on important societal issues."
"Well-defined characters complement the clever narrative structure . . ."
“Place is also strong in Kwei Quartey's 'Last Seen in Lapaz' (Soho, in stores Feb. 7). The West African setting in Quartey's novel is fascinating in its detail. This is the third book in Quartey's acclaimed series, featuring PI Emma Djan and the Sowah Private Investigators Agency. This tightly crafted mystery immerses readers in the sights, sounds and characters of Ghana: the all-night food vendors, Accra's constant soundtrack of loud music, the exaggerated "imaginative appellations" of Ghanaians. It's also a novel that takes on international sex trafficking and rape in a stark manner. Even when I looked away, I had to keep reading.
Quartey's novel opens with the daughter of a dear friend of Emma's boss going missing. Ngozi, it turns out, has rescued a sex worker — that is, "stolen" property — from a luxurious hotel in Accra. Emma is given the case and it takes her into unfamiliar and dangerous landscapes. Emma is an audacious and compassionate private investigator with a keen awareness of her country's dangerous class hierarchies and deep cultural misogyny. Her skills are sorely tried when her investigation leads her from the murder of Ngozi's boyfriend, Femi, deep into the horrors of an international sex trafficking network.
Quartey jumps deftly between Emma's investigation and Ngozi and Femi's stories. This split narrative gives voice to Ngozi, in particular, and allows Quartey to put her actions into compassionate relief next to Emma's. Both are heroes. Quartey's novel also makes it unflinchingly clear how culpable other countries (Europe and beyond) are integrally linked to the trafficking of women and girls like Ngozi.”
--Carole Barrowman, Star Tribune
Ghanaian-American writer Kwei Quartey takes us to Accra, where his talented young private detective, Emma Djan, has an urgent matter to resolve. The teenage daughter of a Nigerian diplomat has disappeared, and Femi, her flashy, criminal boyfriend, is soon found murdered. The girl’s father engages the detective agency where Emma works to find her, a dangerous mission that will involve Emma’s going undercover at a brothel and later taking a plane—to Nigeria—for the first time.
Quartey portrays terrible crimes, human trafficking and the exploitation of sex workers, with unflinching clarity, while painting a panoramic picture of life in contemporary West Africa—the good, the bad, and the everyday. It’s a long way from the missing girl’s privileged existence to the utter hell of a Libyan detention facility experienced by one of Femi’s people-smuggling victims, but Emma takes it all in stride, the better to get the job done.
--Lisa Henriksson, Airmail
“There is courage in these pages, in every sense — in the choices of the story’s heroes, the storytelling and the extensive research Quartey reportedly undertook to inform his story . . . A thrilling mystery, a compulsively emotional novel that doesn’t turn away from either extreme violence or the necessity of hope.”
—E.A. Aymar, The Washington Post
“Quartey is an accomplished novelist who creates real characters and puts them in clever and palpable circumstances . . . He does it with such easy nonchalance that we live the lives of his characters, hear the West African pidgin dialect and recoil with every trap Quartey sets for his characters.”
—Murder Ink, The Durango Telegraph
“Quartey portrays terrible crimes, human trafficking and the exploitation of sex workers, with unflinching clarity, while painting a panoramic picture of life in contemporary West Africa—the good, the bad, and the everyday.”
“For armchair travelers and PI fans!”
“Quartey always brings great skill and a sense of urgency to his stories.”
“An excellent novel.”
“Quartey has depicted many aspects of West African life in his mysteries, but this one delves deeper into its dark side, and travels further, even following the desperate journey of a family journeying through the deserts of Niger and Libya . . . Quartey provides a vivid depiction of lives that are too often overlooked in news stories that treat Africa as a void at the edge of the map.”
—Reviewing the Evidence
“A revelatory experience of urban life in Ghana.”
“A hard-hitting story . . . Quartey opens the door to a part of the world that few Americans know anything about.”
PRH The Read Down blog roundup: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/the-read-down/mysteries-by-black-authors/
Poisoned Pen podcast (from your virtual event): https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-urf84-1387bfe?utm_campaign=admin_episode&utm_medium=dlink
Book Riot best/anticipated mysteries: https://bookriot.com/best-mystery-books-2023/
Book Riot February roundup: https://bookriot.com/new-mystery-thrillers-february-2023/
Link in the Book Riot podcast page: https://bookriot.com/listen/new-releases-and-more-for-february-7-2023/
CrimeReads weekly roundup: https://crimereads.com/10-new-books-coming-out-this-week-february-6-2023/
Mystery Tribune roundup: https://mysterytribune.com/28-best-crime-mystery-and-thriller-books-of-february-2023/
Publishers Lunch notable releases: https://bookshop.org/lists/new-fiction-publishing-february-7
Kittling Books roundup: https://www.kittlingbooks.com/2023/01/february-2023-new-mystery-releases.html?m=1
Brittle Paper roundup: https://brittlepaper.com/2023/01/61-anticipated-african-books-of-2023/
CrimeReads Feb roundup:
Crime Fiction Lover roundup: https://crimefictionlover.com/2023/01/on-the-radar-last-seen-in-lapaz/
MWA new Feb member books: https://mysterywriters.org/new-books-by-mwa-members-february-2023/