In his short story “A Dead Djinn in Cairo” (available in e-Media), author P. Djeli Clark introduced readers to an alternate Egypt of 1912, and the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, who are charged with investigating disturbances of a paranormal nature. In his new novella, Clark returns to both this world and the Ministry to investigate The Haunting of Tram Car 015.
The case seemed simple enough on the surface: car 015 of the Cairo’s Transportation Bureau has been reported as “haunted.” While it is unusual for an object, rather than a person, to be possessed by supernatural means, Agents Hamed Nasr and Onsi Youssef have witnessed stranger occurrences and begin their investigation. But this is far from a simple matter, and tracking down the ritual for purging tram car 015 from the “presence” that has taken control will lead Nasr and Youssef on a very strange journey indeed!
In The Haunting of Tram Car 015, author P. Djeli Clark has done it again! After introducing readers to his alternate Egypt in 2016 onTor.com, he followed up with the completely different, and equally compelling, The Black God’s Drums, a story set in an alternate New Orleans shortly after the Civil War. Now, in his latest, he provides another fascinating and enjoyable trip to Egypt with a wonderfully diverse cast of characters (including a sentient automaton!) and a challenging mystery as Agents Nasr and Youssef must determine not only WHAT is haunting Tram 015 and how to remove it from the city transit system, but how they are going to pay for it since the city of Cairo provides them with no budget to actually accomplish their investigations! This is a story that ranges from frightful to hysterical and back again several times over the course of its scant 130 pages. And Fatma el-Sha’arawi, another investigator from the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, and the protagonist of “A Dead Djinn in Cairo,” makes a brief cameo at the end of the new story.
Two times might be a coincidence, but three times is a trend. With these three stories, P. Djeli Clark proves that he is a new fantasy writer to watch!