Children Of The Street
In the slums of Accra, Ghana’s fast-moving, cosmopolitan capital, teenagers are turning up dead. Inspector Darko Dawson has seen many crimes, but this latest string of murders—in which all the young victims bear a chilling signature—is the most unsettling of his career. Are these heinous acts a form of ritual killing or the work of a lone, cold-blooded monster? With time running out, Dawson embarks on a harrowing journey through the city’s underbelly and confronts the brutal world of the urban poor, where street children are forced to fight for their very survival—and a cunning killer seems just out of reach.
A day shy of his seventeenth birthday, Musa was a boy with the survival instincts of a grown man. Blood sprang from the stab wound in his back, but he did not die instantly. As his life drained, Musa had a running vision, like a video, of his short life. Living in his small hometown of Gurungu had been a depressing, losing battle as his family tried to grow millet in the unforgivable desert conditions of northern Ghana. It was what had pushed him to his seven-day trek to Ghana’s capital city of smooth motorways and impenetrable traffic jams.
Penniless and lonely, Musa hadn’t known a soul in Accra. With no education, no family connections, and no skills, there were only a few jobs for him. He could be a street vendor, a luggage porter at a lorry park, a shoeshine boy, or a truck-pusher – one of those guys who roam Accra with a cart picking up metal scraps to take to the junkyards. He earned much less than a cedi a day.
Up before dawn, Musa never rested until after nightfall, laying his head down on city pavements, at storefronts, and around marketplaces. He had only wanted his life to get better. He had sworn that after working in Accra for a year, he would go back to Gurungu with new clothes and some money for his mother.
As Musa’s eyelids fluttered closed, he must have wondered if this was what his father had meant when he had shaken a warning finger in Musa’s face.If you go to Accra, you will become nothing but a street child, and you will pay a terrible price.
“…As in Wife of the Gods (2009), the real star is Accra, which the killer aptly describes as “the perfect place for a murder.”
—Kirkus Book Reviews
“Darko Dawson, with his secret struggle to stop smoking marijuana and his son’s chronic illness, is one of the most engaging characters this reader has ever encountered. The police work, the unexpected reveal of the murderer and the motivation for the killings, and the clever interactions among characters of widely different professions and social classes will completely satisfy readers who enjoyed the first book and intrigue newcomers.”
“Kwei Quartey’s Children of the Street may be a fictional crime drama, but it takes place in the very real slum of Agbogbloshie in the heart of Ghana’s capital, Accra…With an enticing plot, well-stocked with twists and turns, and a dynamic and imperfect protagonist, Children of the Street is a great read for diehard crime-novel enthusiasts and leisure readers alike.”
—Joshua Weaver, The Root