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The Missing American

(Emma Djan Investigation #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  262 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Accra private investigator Emma Djan's first missing persons case will lead her to the darkest depths of the email scams and fetish priests in Ghana, the world's Internet capital.

When her dreams of rising through the police ranks like her late father crash around her, 26-year-old Emma Djan is unsure what will become of her life in Accra. Through a sympathetic former
Kindle Edition, 432 pages
Published January 14th 2020 by Soho Crime
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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Susan Johnson
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of the best things about reading is the chance to visit places you have never been. This book takes us to Ghana where an intrepid young policewoman tries to do her job in the face of rampant corruption and even sexual harassment. When she stands up for herself she is fired but bounces back as a private investigator.
Her first case is the missing American who has visited Ghana to visit a woman he met on-line but discovers he has been defrauded for money. He disappears when he tries to find
Dec 21, 2019 rated it liked it
This book would translate well to film. It has almost everything you need to make a compelling movie: (1) Interesting, somewhat complex plot, (2) Exotic locale, (3) Large cast of characters to add some complexity to the story line, (4) Lots of local color and atmosphere, (5) Topical themes of internet scams and of political corruption.

This is a mystery/thriller set in modern-day Ghana. Theoretically, the main character is 26-year-old Emma Djan, rookie police officer following in her late
Feb 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
A new series by Quartey (not Darko Dawson), featuring 26-year-old Emma Djan, who is fired from her boring procedural police job for not succumbing to sexual harassment. A homicide department colleague of her deceased father refers Emma to a private detective agency in Gabon. This agency is hired by American Derek Tilson to find his father Gordon, missing several weeks since arriving in Ghana, the victim of an elaborate internet romance scam, because the local police and U.S. embassy have not ...more
This is a relatively slow paced mystery with a really interesting presence--an American man disappears in Ghana after going to visit who he believes to be a woman he's fallen in love with over the internet (and just happens to have given several thousand dollars.) I liked private detective Emma Djan, who has a compelling backstory, but I didn't quite feel like I got to know her because there were so many characters. I'm definitely interested to see how she develops in future installments of the ...more
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

The Missing American is a nice crime story with enough twists and turns to unravel its mystery that it kept me hooked throughout. Quartey makes the most of his Ghanaian setting with moments of Sjowall and Wahloo style social commentary that I particularly appreciated. I felt I got a good sense of Atimpoku and how people live there. This novel is much more of a serious crime story than the better known Alexander McCall Smith cosy series, but I
Elizabeth (Alaska)
On the cover is the quote: Rich, with the colors of Ghana, this is great Sunshine Noir. What the heck is "sunshine noir" I wondered, and I was off to see what I could learn. I learned it is a response to Scandinavian, or Nordic, Noir. It is supposed to be the same sort of mystery/thriller set in hot places rather than cold ones. I have read few of the cold type and this is my first of the hot type.

As to this offering, it is definitely more thriller than mystery. There was a little more lust in
...more Mystery & Thriller
My first experience with what has become known as an internet scam actually arrived in the form of a snail-mail letter that I received in 1994. The sender advised me that there was 13 million AMD in the account of a deceased citizen in Nigeria that I could acquire if I would be willing to turn over my bank account information and tender in advance an amount equal to a (relatively) small commission plus transmittal fees. These have become much more sophisticated over the course of the last ...more
Paula Kaufman
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The title of Kwei Quartey's new book, The Missing American, does not do justice to this first in a new series featuring Emma Djan, former member of the Ghana Police Service turned private detective. I am a fan of mysteries set in countries outside of the U.S. and I have read and admired Quartey's previous Darko Dawson series. The Missing American far exceeds his previous efforts. Emma is a complex character who engages in a complicated set of scams, crimes, and murders that take the reader deep ...more
Cathy Cole
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have been a fan of Kwei Quartey's Darko Dawson series since the first book, Wife of the Gods. I was thrilled to discover that The Missing American has the same superb sense of place as Quartey's previous series. 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.

Although I loved reading this book, I did find it a bit bloated with a lot of "irons in the fire." Internet scams,
Mary Ahlgren
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved this glimpse into so many facets of Ghanaian life.
This was 3.5 read for me.

Thoughts coming shortly
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Will link to review when published.
Tonstant Weader
The Missing American is Gordon Tillson who met the love of his life while working in Ghana in the Peace Corps. When his beloved wife dies of cancer, he mourns her for years and becomes a fixture in a Facebook group for the bereaved. He has a type, a Ghanaian woman connects with him on Facebook and he begins to fall for her. He also has a one-night tryst with a Ghanaian woman who is in D.C. for a fundraiser, the wife the head of the national police force. When his son, Dexter, confronts him about ...more
This is the first in a new series from Kwei Quartey featuring private investigator Emma Djan. I just love Quartey's Darko Dawson series which is set in Ghana, and so glad that the new series is also set there. Many thanks to @sohocrime @soho_press for the advance readers copy of the book. It will be published on January 14, 2020.

Emma Djan was in the police force, following her father's career. She leaves the force and is offered a position with a private detective agency which she accepts. The
Jamie Canaves
This is Quarteys start to a new series after completing his procedural series Darko Dawson. This series starts with multiple points of view between the U.S. and Accra, Ghana. We have a white male widow in the U.S. who falls in love with a Ghanaian woman on the internet, and a police woman in Ghana, Emma Djan, who is assaulted by a superior (attempted rape) and is forced instead to work for a private detective firm. When the widow goes missing in Ghanaafter coming to meet his new loveDjan ends up ...more
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
THE MISSING AMERICAN by Kwei Quartey. Gordon Tilson, a retired widower, thinks he's found a new love through an online senior dating site. Helena is Ghahaian like his dead wife, and when she mentions a family emergency they can't afford, he's happy to send her the money. Gordon goes to Ghana to meet Helena and discovers that she doesn't exist. He's been the victim of a widespread scam that involves people in every social strata. Angry, Gordon starts to ask questions, and soon he's gone missing. ...more
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Emma Djan is a young police officer in the Commercial Crimes Unit who was looking to shift to the Homicide Unit in Accra's Ghanaian police department when a fateful encounter with police commissioner Andoh derails her career, leaving her deeply shaken. After a few months of working part-time in the Apple store, a referral from a friend of her deceased father bears fruit. She is hired as the first female private investigator at a PI firm started by Yemo Sowah, a police officer who left the force ...more
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 star! Kwei Quarteys newest novel, The Missing American, opens with a sniper assassination of a Ghanaian presidential candidate, and then we are introduced to Emma Djan, whose dreams of a promising career in the Ghana Police Service are dashed when she tearfully refuses an offer of a position in Homicide in return for sex.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police who relieves her of her duties, suspects something happened, and refers her to the owner of a detective agency where she is immediately
100 Pages A Day
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kwei Quartey produced a thriller packed and often disturbingly insightful look into the underbelly of Acura, Ghana's internet crimes. What's mind boggling is how people become easy targets; the majority being white women, 50 years old, according to the BBC report: Women Victims In 63% Of Romance Scams. I guess I can understand why people are so easily scammed; loneliness. People don't want to be alone.

The Victim in the Missing American fell for the scam, found out about it, and decided to go to
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Emma Djan is a neat, smart, thoughtful policewoman, trying to maintain her focus and morals in the midst of the swirling chaos that is Accra, Ghana. Her father was a policeman, but she's off the force once she refuses her superior's advances. Fortunately, she is recommended to a private investigator who appreciates her initiative and imagination.

Her first case is to find what happened to an American named Gordon Tilson, who came to Ghana to meet a woman he met online. Of course, there is no
Feb 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
I was going to give this 4-stars because I really enjoyed it, but I downgraded it because it fell into one of my pet peeves: (view spoiler) ...more
Mystic Miraflores
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved the new character of the female PI, Emma Djan. I look forward to the next book in the series. There were some mistakes in the book, such as Gordon referring to his and Cas' article appearing in the Washington Post, instead of the Washington Observer, which is Cas' newspaper. Also, when referring to the lady who ran the Autistic Center, first the author said her son was eight years old; then later on, he was EIGHTEEN years old. These were mistakes an editor should have caught. I also was ...more
Bookworm LLC
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: patti-bookshelf
This is a new series that is set in Ghana introducing Emma Djan. She has turned to private investigation due to the fact that her police career is over.

When a former colleague manages to get her an interview with a detective agency Emma realizes she has an opportunity to salvage her career.

Gordon Tilson enters the story looking for comfort in an online support group after the death of his wife. Through this group Gordon meets a young widow and quickly befriends her. He even sends her money to
Mal Watlington
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My knowledge of Africa is very limited. I know a bit about the political turmoil and corruption in Equatorial Guinea (Tropical Gangsters, The Wonga Plot), but was clueless about Ghana. This novel is centered around a young woman who wants to become a homicide detective, but finds herself in the role of private investigator following her rejection of the sexual advances of a superior in the Ghana police administration.

Her pursuit of an internet scammer (sakawa boy) leads to a corruption scandal
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
Gordon Tilson is a middle-aged widower living in Washington, DC. While finding friendship and support through online communities Gordon meets Helena, a woman from Ghana, and the two become close as they discuss not only their shared grief but their shared love of Ghana; Gordon met his first wife, who was Ghanaian, there when he was in the Peace Corps. When Helena finds herself in need of money, Gordon is all too wiling to send it to her, causing his son Derek to suspect that something isnt quite ...more
Feb 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
NOTE: There is a glossary at the end which defines slang, names of food, etc. used in the book and gives their pronunciation. I wish Id known that before finishing the book.

First in a series, Quartey introduces a rather large cast of characters in this book, but does a good job of helping you remember who each one is. The Ghana setting and the romance-scam premise made the book feel informative as well as entertaining. The chapters are surprisingly short - most only a few pages - which I found
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a new series that is set in Ghana introducing Emma Djan. She has turned to private investigation due to the fact that her police career is over.

When a former colleague manages to get her an interview with a detective agency Emma realizes she has an opportunity to salvage her career.

Gordon Tilson enters the story looking for comfort in an online support group after the death of his wife. Through this group Gordon meets a young widow and quickly befriends her. He even sends her money to
Jennifer S
Jan 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Kwei Quartey introduces a new protagonist in this book. Emma Djan is a newly minted police investigator who longs to be in homicide but is stuck in a bureaucratic department investigating commercial crimes. When she is forced to leave the police force, she is hired into a private investigation firm which is led by a man with trust and integrity. Her first complex case involves an American who has traveled to Ghana as a victim of an internet scam and vanished.

Emma is a good character and I am
Jan P
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I enjoyed this story, especially about a region (Ghana) I knew nothing about. Thought the writing was first-rate and the story enticing. It certainly is a subject of our present day. Love Emma, the main character, and her portrayal as a determined young woman in a man's world. My only issue is that as a young, novice private eye I don't think she would have been able to be so assertive in real life. Nor would she be allowed to participate in some of the events that transpired. However, it is a ...more
Margo Tanenbaum
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, africa, mysteries
Kwei Quartey's books just keep getting better and better. In this book, set in Ghana and the US, he introduces a new character, Emma Djan, who leaves what was once a promising career in the police to pursue a career as a private detective. Her very first case involves a missing American, who appears to have gotten mixed up in an Internet scam preying on lonely widowers in the US. Highly recommended for fans of police procedurals. Quartey does a wonderful job of capturing the atmosphere of Ghana ...more
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Kwei Quartey is a crime fiction writer and retired 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. Dr. Quartey balances the two professions by dedicating the early morning hours to writing before beginning a day in his clinic.

Kwei Quartey attended medical

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