The Missing American


  • “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

  • “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.”

    —Publisher’s Weekly

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

    —Booklist, Starred Review

  • ” . . . intriguing debut

    —Los Angeles Times

  • ” . . . a twisty page-turner”

    —The Big Thrill

  • ” . . . evocative new series”

    —The Seattle Times

  • ” . . . a compelling crime investigation”

    —The Bolo Books Review

  • ” . . . [a] new depth of exploration”

    —Kingdom Books Mysteries–Reviews

  • ” . . . a gem of a debut”

    –Washington Post

  • ” . . . modernity and tradition clash in Ghanaian Noir”

    Chicago Review Of Books

  • 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.

    — Jerome Socolovsky, senior editor, National Desk
    (NPR’s Best Novels of 2020)

  • With “The Missing American,” Quartey has launched a series with private investigator Emma Djan. Her first big case involves the middle-aged American of the title, who travels to Ghana to track down whoever swindled him out of $4,000 in an Internet scam. The search for him is both suspenseful and wonderfully atmospheric.

    — Maureen Corrigan and Richard Lipez
    (Washington Post Best Thrillers and Mysteries of 2020)

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