Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line
By: Deepa Anappara
Djinn Patrol is one of those books I picked up not at all knowing what I was going to get and absolutely loved despite the dark and tragic subject manner.
And I think it’s because Anappara brings the characters and the setting (but especially the characters) to life so well that I felt that I was there running the streets with the kids and I wanted to keep them all safe and fix everything that was wrong. Unfortunately there is a lot wrong for them.
Jai is a 9-year old who watches entirely too many detective shows so when kids from his community begin disappearing and the police aren’t just ineffective but corrupt and threaten to send in bulldozers to tear the place down if they keep getting bothered- Jai and his friends decide to find the kids and bring them home.
Well Jai does. His friends Faiz and Pari aren’t really into it but they go along with him anyway.
The three main kids are well drawn and very likable and even though they are young and their lives are so different than mine very relatable. The only knock I had in the beginning was Pari was giving me some Hermione vibes and like… why does the girl always have to be the super smart bookworm?
I did love that Jai was like the most easily distracted Sherlock Holmes want to be ever. But you have to appreciate the tenacity.
Anappara was a journalist and in a kit for the book she talks about actual disappearances in India and how the victims and survivors are also forgotten for lurid speculation about the perpetrator so while the book is mostly Jai’s we do get a chapter from the mindset of each of the missing kids a couple of which are especially brutal and heartbreaking the final one especially.
I did appreciate to that parents and adults are very much present in this and presented as very caring and involved even if overworked and easy for the kids to get around. The book also touches on discrimination as when in the face of no answers the “other” is blamed.
The end might annoy some people and you grow to love the characters so much you only want happiness and joy for them but I thought it was realistic and leaves you with this unsettled feeling that really lingers. I’m glad I read Djinn Patrol and will definitely read more from this author in the future.