“Don’t play with fire, eh? Or you will get burned.”
The Missing American is a fascinating story filled with complex characters who are in one way or the other inter-related with one another. This intriguing story tells of how Internet fraud operates in Ghana amidst other crimes and unscrupulous acts of the Ghanaian police and people in power.
This book shows how corruption has woven its way into almost every system in Ghana and according to the characters in the book displays a sharp contrast between the current Ghana and Ghana of old.
This page turning mystery gives the killers and victims a chance to prove themselves and also make the reader guess who might have their hands in the cookie jar of crime.
“As for we Ghanaians, as soon as we fear something or don’t understand it, then we call it juju, or the devil, or curses. But it’s not like that.”
Kwei Quartey also made it a point to showcase how autism is treated or seen in the average Ghanaian community. People with autism are seen as “devil-children.”
The author talks about autism on a surface level. It was nothing too deep as the autistic characters had no important ties to the mystery happening in the book. They were flat, barely there characters and seemed like more of an addition to the book to educate readers that autistic people exist and need to be treated with utmost care and respect.
“Wrapped around his back, her thighs were marvelously powerful, like Regina’s. Gordon remembered now what it had been like in those days long ago. The glory and the ecstasy of being with an African woman. No comparison.”
One of the most important characters in the book, an American man, Gordon Tilson, who was previously married to a Ghanaian woman could not help but fetishize the Ghanaian woman’s body. His descriptions were quite disturbing and they served as insights into how an average African woman is seen by foreign and indigenous men alike.
There are quite a number of characters in this book. Each having their own story to tell and each of them have something to bring to the table, however, they can get a bit confusing if the reader is not paying much attention. It’s hard to pen down a particular character as the main protagonist even if the point of view of that character seems predominant. The author does a bit of moving from character to character in order to get their own perspectives. As it gets to 70% of the book, we begin to see more of Emma Djan, whom the reader would have met a point at the onset of the book.
Should You Read?
There are conspiracies upon conspiracies happening in this book. You think you are getting to the bottom of a crime and another one springs up. If you are the type of person who loves mysteries with different incidents happening all at once, leaving no room for you to breathe, then you should pick this up!