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by Kwei Quartey

Pub Date: July 12th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8129-8167-4
Publisher: Random House

Detective Inspector Darko Dawson, of the Ghana Police Service, hunts for a killer who preys on the most vulnerable of all his countrymen: teenagers who live on the streets of Accra.

The first victim, truck pusher Musa Zakari, is stabbed in the back, most of his fingers amputated, and left like a sack of garbage in the Korle Lagoon. The second, shoeshine boy Ebenezer Sarpong, is dumped in Jamestown with his head twisted backward. Porter/prostitute Comfort Mahama is raped and stabbed to death, her knees mutilated. Darko’s investigation gets off to a slow start because he’s worried that his lazy subordinate, Det. Sgt. Philip Chikata, bestirring himself to unusual initiative by his uncle, Chief Supt. Theophilus Lartey, will uncover Darko’s connection to marijuana dealer Daramani Gushegu, and his own continued appetite for the shameful weed. Even after that danger passes, Darko, following the killer’s trail from the Brooklyn Gang of street kids to the Street Children of Accra Refuge to the palatial home of Dr. Allen Botswe, the eminent criminal psychologist at the University of Ghana, is hampered by his incorrigible habit of going after the wrong suspect. At home, there are continuing fears that Darko and his wife Christine will never be able to afford the surgery that could close the hole in their 7-year-old son Hosiah’s heart, even if his grandmother can be persuaded to quit feeding him the salty food that makes his condition worse.

Not the most compelling serial killer you’ve ever met, or the best-wrought procedural. As in Wife of the Gods (2009), the real star is Accra, which the killer aptly describes as “the perfect place for a murder.”