Saturday, September 10, 2011

Children of the Street by Kwei Quartey

I received this book in exchange for an honest review through Netgalley.

“In the world of homelessness, poverty, and desperation, you fight for survival, and there are no polite limits to the fight.”


Children of the Street is a mystery novel by Kwei Quartey. It is the second book (after Wife of the Gods) in the Inspector Darko Dawson series.
Rating: 4/5

Summary: Darko Dawson works as an inspector in Accra, the capital of Ghana. He has seen a lot of things in this brutal place, laced with poverty and unemployment. Yet something about the latest series of murders makes them much worse. Street children are turning up dead, each body mutilated and thrown away in the exact same way. All the deaths seem to point to one killer. It is up to Inspector Dawson to figure out if it is some sort of a ritual killing or the job of another psychopathic serial killer. But the list of suspects isn't short, as this murderer isn't the only bad thing roaming the dark streets of Accra. Everyone's got skeletons in their closet.

My thoughts: I loved the book right from the cover design. I haven't read the first book in the series, so I wasn't sure what to expect. The book did have a rough start for me. What struck me as odd were the sudden and many gory details. The writing seemed repetitive and there were a few page-long descriptions that were almost entirely unnecessary! The story did catch pace, though, and it was a soon a smooth and enjoyable read.

Considering how little I know about Ghana or even Africa for that matter, I thought the author painted a very complete picture; with all elements, the good and the bad! What I loved the most was the story had no villain and hero, as such. Every had problems and secrets and regrets. The characters were strong, and dark in a way which (and this is a huge compliment coming from me) reminded me of Stephen King's books. I felt the plot slack a couple of times, but the characters never became even remotely uninteresting. Their secrets and lives so intricately stringed together became for me, the highlights of the book. I can think of very few mysteries that aren't almost completely focused on the plot.

I can't wait to read more books by the author. Meanwhile, I definitely recommend this one to all mystery and crime fiction fans or anyone in search of a short, exciting read!

6 comments:

Vishy said...

Nice review, Priya! I have rarely read about murder mysteries set in Africa which are written by African authors. Most of the popular fiction set in Africa is written by non-African writers. So this looks like a refreshing book from a refreshing new author (new to me atleast). From your description, this book looks wonderful. Thanks for telling us about a wonderful new series, by an exciting new author :)

Vishy said...

Forgot to mention one more thing. Congratulations on reading 50 books this year! Hope you get close to a 100 :)

Priya said...

Vishy - Oh, I didn't realize it was the fiftieth book I read!! I never would have imagined I could, had I not counted! Thanks, I don't think I can read a hundred books in a year, but let's see if I read the sixty five that I (randomly) decided...

I haven't really read a mystery about Africa, let alone by an African author; so I don't have anything to compare it too. But it is a great book! I actually finished it in about five or six hours, I was hooked. You should read it :)

Vishy said...

Thanks for the nudge, Priya :) I will look for this book. On books set in Africa, I am quite sure you would have read / heard of the 'No.1 Ladies Detective Agency' series. It is set in Botswana but is written by Alexander McCall Smith, who is a Scottish writer.

Mac Campbell said...

Damn, I love books about Africa. Doris Lessing and JM Koetzee are my favourite writers. Something about the land brings out the best in African writers.

Priya said...

Mac Campbell - I haven't really read any other books about Africa, but I'd like too try these! Thanks for stopping by!

Vishy - I hadn't heard; which makes me feel stupid, since you were quite sure! I'll definitely read the series!!

Post a Comment