Shadow of a Broken Man
Comments from George C. Chesbro
"Shadow may be where I started to build a reputation for pushing the envelope of detective fiction, crossing genres by mixing mystery and science fiction. In fact, nothing could have been further from my mind. Sci fi deals in alternate worlds/realities, and Mongo is very much a man of our time and reality. I just wanted to tell a good story, and it occurred to me that it would be great fun to explore the implications of having an actual telepath---but only one---in our world. I concluded that it would be dangerous and potentially disastrous for all concerned, and in the novel I attempt to show why.

"Shadow is widely believed to be my first novel. It is not. King's Gambit was published first, in England and Scandinavia. While Shadow was my first novel in the USA, and the first Mongo to appear in print, City of Whispering Stone was actually written before it, and rejected by a number of publishers. After the success of Shadow, City was subsequently picked up by one of the same publishers who'd initially rejected it.

"Mongo's first appearances were in a series of novellas that appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's and Mike Shayne's Mystery Magazine. These are collected in In the House of Secret Enemies."


Shadow of a Broken Man is that rare work of fiction, a first novel that is so unusual, so taut and engrossing and yet so timely that it not only demands to be read in one sitting but will surely haunt the reader for longer afterward. On one level, this is a fast-paced thriller. But on another, far more important level it explores the uncharted powers of the mind---its infinite, perhaps dangerous, capacities and vulnerabilities. Brilliantly delving into that shadowy area of the extraordinary, the author explores how extrasensory perception can be used to ultimately affect the destiny of men and of nations.

Dr. Robert Frederickson, known to his friends as Mongo, is a professor of criminology at a New York City university, a former circus headliner, a black-belt karate adept and a private detective---who just incidentally happens to be a dwarf. His investigation into the tangled history of a renowned architect named Rafferty, who died---or is supposed to have died---in a bizarre accident, brings him up against Lippitt, a strange victim of Communist torture, whose interest in Rafferty goes deeper than patriotism. Mongo's tenacity sets in motion an incredible chain of events that comes to an explosive and terrifying climax on a New York waterfront, in which a deadly secret is revealed.

George Chesbro's gift for authentic detail, characterization and dialogue, his dazzling originality, and, above all, his inimitably cool style have combined to produce a uniquely powerful and entertaining first novel.

---From the dustjacket of the Simon & Schuster edition
Quotes from the novel
  • "I gave up the circus; too common for a dwarf." -Mongo
  • Perhaps because I was a physical deviate, I was drawn to the problems of other deviates. -Mongo

  • Garth always maintained that I had a tendency to overcompensate... -Mongo

  • Some years ago a psychiatrist had told me that finding out things other people didn't want known was my way of trying to stay even with a society filed with people bigger than I was. The remark had been meant to startle, to provoke insight, and eventually to alter my behavior.

    Instead, I'd simply found that I thoroughly agreed with him, and had gone out after a private investigator's license. -Mongo

  • "You're looking at the last word in neglected minority groups." -Mongo

  • "...I was born with a low profile." -Mongo

  • "Sheer dwarf cunning." -Mongo

Copyright © 2018, Hunter Goatley. All rights reserved.
Last updated 25-MAR-2018 21:42:22.45.