THE HAUNTING OF TRAM CAR 015
Written by P. Djèlí Clark
Published by Tor.com, February 19, 2019
My star rating – 5 stars
The Haunting of Tram Car 015 returns to the alternate Cairo of Clark’s short fiction, where humans live and work alongside otherworldly beings; the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities handles the issues that can arise between the magical and the mundane. Senior Agent Hamed al-Nasr shows his new partner Agent Onsi the ropes of investigation when they are called to subdue a dangerous, possessed tram car. What starts off as a simple matter of exorcism, however, becomes more complicated as the origins of the demon inside are revealed.
This will be a shorter review than normal as this is a shorter than normal book for me lol. Coming in at a whole 130 pages, I can assure you that “size doesn’t matter” (it’s ok, you can giggle). What this author can do in a small amount of pages is nothing short of a miracle!!!!!
This is actually the second book of his that i’ve read. The first one I read was A Dead Djinn in Cairo, which follows a woman detective who is tracking down a dangerous Djinn who has the capability of taking down the entire world. THAT one was only 43 pages and absolutely BLEW MY MIND!!!! He was able to give you the setting, the feel of the character and her personality, and a sense of dread and danger with this djinn who was released and could do so much damage. Given that this one was almost 100 pages longer, what he accomplished was downright incredible.
The Haunting of Tram Car 015 isn’t a direct sequel, but it does take place in the same world/setting and mentioned the character that we met in A Dead Djinn in Cairo. In this one, we meet an agent named Hamed and his new partner Onsi. They’re tasked to rid a public tram car of an unseen being who attacked and almost killed a pregnant woman. When they first investigated the tram car, they quickly realized that this possession was a little different than they’re used to. There was something off about it and needed assistance from outside forces. Djinn come in many different forms and, being that this one was incredibly violent, they knew that they needed help.
What I loved most about this book is that is has the word “haunting” in the title and it was ACTUALLY a haunting! Please tell me if i’m wrong, but it seems that the books that I pick up that promise a haunting, actually turn out to be something different. Either it wasn’t a haunting at all and it was just a mental health issue, or it’s all left up to speculation, I rarely find a book with real paranormal entities. I’m SO TIRED of authors trying to be smart and unique with their hauntings – give me a real freaking ghost! That’s what I’m here for!!! And with this book I got all that I wanted…… and maybe a little bit more. This being was F*#!@($ terrifying! Not a whole lot scares me (I have no idea what that says about me…. don’t look too deep) but the way the author described this djinn had me wanting to crawl under the covers and not look under my bed – and I loved every minute of it! But be warned – if blood and gore isn’t your thing, you might not want to dive into this one… but it’s not too bad….
Not only were the paranormal elements fantastic, but so was the setting! We got a little more elaboration than we did in A Dead Djinn in Cairo and, you guessed it, it’s set in Cairo. But it’s a bit of an alternate reality/modern and futuristic but set in the past Cairo…. does that even make any sense? I can’t explain it! The atmosphere felt like it was set in the past yet there were modern and technological advancements. It was clear and vivid and really interesting! The whole atmosphere was really.
And there was also an element of women empowerment. I can’t give too many examples due to spoilers, but the author seems to make a point to focus on the power women hold. In A Dead Djinn in Cairo, we have a very well known and competent female Agent. And in this book so many women are the ones that help our 2 main males. The way he writes his women is amazing. Soft when needed, thoughtful, smart, unafraid, and bad ass!
If you haven’t read this author before, and you love fantasy and paranormal, YOU NEEEEEEEED to pick up these books! There’s actually a full length novel coming out in May 2021 where we once again follow the female agent we met in A Dead Djinn in Cairo. I have an advanced copy and I am DYING to read it! This author may be a contender for a new favourite!!
Until next time, happy reading!