‘Djinn Patrol on the Northern Line’ – Deepa Anappara

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with the chance to read this prior to publication.

In this transporting debut novel, three friends venture into the most dangerous corners of a sprawling Indian city to find their missing classmate.

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is the kind of story that only really shows its significance once you reach the end.

Our main character, Jai, is a rather innocent nine year old. He watches too much tv, is obsessed with real-life crime stories and plays cricket. He spends his time with his friends doing the kinds of things many nine year olds will do. Then children in the area he lives start to go missing.

Seen through Jai’s eyes as he and his friends try to investigate these disappearances, I was struck by the lack of regard given to these cases. The writer’s journalistic background may have led to this determination to write about the number of children in India that go missing, but because we observe events through Jai’s eyes we can’t help but notice the absence of action.

I found the book a little slow at times in terms of action. The description was powerful, and the story as a whole I found unsettling. I definitely felt it became more impactful once Jai’s reasons to investigate become more personal.