Read excerpt of ‘Deadly Sacrifice’ by Stella Oni

Africa Writes have teamed up with Jacaranda Books to bring you a delightful monthly read from the publisher’s Twenty in 2020 releases. In September we are spotlighting Deadly Sacrifice by Stella Oni.

Here’s a short blurb: #TwentyIn2020 mystery begins as a child’s severed hand is found, DC Toks Ade and DS Philip Dean are put on the case. Thrown into a world of Nigerian traditional customs, ritual sacrifice, and international human trafficking, they must find the guilty parties before more children are lost and more limbs are found.

If you’d like a 10% discount, head over to Jacaranda’s website and use the code ‘AWNEWS‘ to claim it! Jacaranda Books successfully crowdfunded with Knights Of and Spread the Word to support inclusive independent publishers hit worst by the COVID-19 economic crisis. You can read more about their Inclusive Indies campaign here. #InclusiveIndies

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Chapter  1

When Detective Sergeant Philip Dean and Detective Constable Toks Ade stepped out of the warmth of their car into the chilly embrace of a winter day, a disturbing, gruesome find was the last thing on their mind. With the wind whipping at her neck, sharp as razor blades, DC Toks wished she had remembered to bring her woolly scarf.

‘Let’s hope we’re not chasing shadows,’ said Philip Dean. ‘Shadows?’ she asked, glancing sideways at him. He was a tall man with thinning brown hair, pale skin and a downcast expression. She had come under his wing as a trainee detective at the Stamford CID unit in East London when her appointed supervisor became ill.

‘Nothing. Don’t worry about it,’ he muttered.

They were at Cedar Estate, a sprawling, human cauldron of a place, to visit a Mrs Bello, whose 9-year-old grand- daughter had gone missing 2 days before. Toks was here to act as a Yoruba interpreter. The team that came to interview Mrs Bello had complained they could not understand her or she could not understand them, who knows. This would be her first proper case on the unit as a detective. She was relieved to be out of police uniform after 10 years.

‘Yoruba,’ Philip Dean changed the subject. ‘I’m trying to learn. Do you know any Igbo or Hausa?’
‘No. Just Yoruba.’ She did not let her surprise show at his knowledge of the 3 main Nigerian languages. She continued to scan the area as she spoke. Mrs Bello’s flat was in one of the many tower blocks on the estate. She heard some laughter and saw that on the other side of the path were low walls surrounding a wide, raised concrete platform that acted as a bridge and entry to four tower blocks.

In what she thought might be Mrs Bello’s block, she eyed a communal bin of over- flowing discarded furniture—mattresses with foamy entrails, chairs with missing arms, a gas cooker with a blackened heart. She saw a few boys joyfully kicking a football through puddles of yesterday’s dirty rain water. As they approached, Toks saw that the boys had stopped and were crouched over something on the ground. She suddenly felt a tingling in her belly from her uniformed days.

‘You okay there, boys?’ she called out.
They jumped back and turned pale, shocked faces to the detectives. A boy with spiky blonde hair pointed a shaky finger to the ground.
‘A hand! Whisky found a hand!’

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Read about Inclusive Indies campaign here. #InclusiveIndies
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Image of  Stella Oni: AO-Photography