Shadow of a Broken Man by George C. Chesbro is the first in the long-running Mongo the Magnificent mystery series. The private detective is a former circus performer, a karate expert, a university professor, , and a criminologist. He's also a dwarf. There was a planned film based on one of the books, and there's an HBO series being considered for after Peter Dinklage finishes with Game of Thrones. I enjoyed this and will seek out the rest of the series.
synopsis taken from the author's website:
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.Mystery File praises it saying, "The writing here is literate and fast-paced, the plot is intricate, the concept is bizarre yet entirely plausible."
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