Monday, 14 May 2012

Kwei Quartey's Children of the Street

Children of the StreetChildren of the Street by Kwei Quartey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Detective Inspector Darko Dawson is called out to the Korle Lagoon where the near-fingerless body of a homeless boy was found he has no idea that more murders will follow. A killer is preying on the children and others who live on the margins of society in Ghana’s teeming capital city. The mutilated bodies and their disposal in Accra’s dump sites suggest the killer is sending a message but what it is Darko has no idea.

Even as Darko struggles to unravel the mystery before the killer strikes again he is beset by worries over his son whose heart condition appears to be worsening. On top of that, the boy who led them to the first murder victim’s body disappears without a trace. Darko had felt an instant connection with the boy and he’s deeply worried because he knows all the terrible ways in which the city takes its toll on its street children. Another potential problem is the possibility that his police career could be derailed if his own addiction to marijuana or wee is discovered which becomes a distinct possibility when his dealer is drawn into the murder investigation.

Children of the Streets is Kwei Quartey’s second novel and the first that I’ve read. The setting, Accra, is vividly described and I was thrilled to find a detective story set in a country mostly unknown to me. The challenges and struggles faced by Accra’s street children and by others struggling to make ends meet actually resulted in my finding the city itself more menacing than the killer! I found this a fast and interesting read.

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