Book Reviews

Review: A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djèlí Clark

With the cover, I’m catching a Studio Ghibli vibe, which is great and the minimalistic combined with the illustration makes for all-around, excellent cover.


Egypt, 1912. In Cairo, the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities investigate disturbances between the mortal and the (possibly) divine.

What starts off as an odd suicide case for Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi leads her through the city’s underbelly as she encounters rampaging ghouls, saucy assassins, clockwork angels, and a plot that could unravel time itself.

At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Things are turning around for me with historical fiction. Anytime you put “saucy assassins” in the blurb, you got me. I’m not referring to the type of historical fiction that covers what might have happened surrounding a semi-real event, I’m talking about this lovely short story, here ( 45 pages in length ), titled A Dead Djinn in Cairo ( ← you may read the whole thing online @, in previous link. I suggest you give the .99c if you like it and can suitably afford it ) by P. Djèlí Clark, which takes place in 1912, has an explicit Indiana Jones / steam punk type-feel to it and lore galore. Some of Clark’s other work looks to be worth checking out as well and are being adapted for TV.

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I learned neato things that simply aren’t covered with modern-setting books, ( or maybe they are, but it sure sounds good! ) like the difference between inspector and investigator ( hint: the inspector says the differences are vast ). There is also some references to archaic tools and gadgets, in which I wouldn’t mind owning myself to feel a bit more Indiana Jones with it all. The problems of supernatural entities in a real-world, physical form are deceitful and interesting. It’s a beautiful thing for exploration of the mind. Writing style is punchy, intuitive and scores high for giving off an atmospheric feel, like you are right there with the investigation and mysterious creatures this world provides were just what I needed as an intermission from my other readings.

“An Old One, at that—near twice the size of a man, with fingers that ended in curved talons, long as knives. His skin was a sheath of aquamarine scales that shifted to turquoise beneath the glare of flickering gas lamps. He sat unclothed between tasseled cushions of lavender and burgundy, his muscular arms and legs spread wide and leaving nothing to the imagination.” P. Djèlí Clark, A Dead Djinn in Cairo


This book is jam-packed with tid-bits ( with out the kibbles ), excellent style while delivering what feels like a full story in a mere 45 pages. A Dead Djinn in Cairo scores a nice, solid ★★★★✬ four and a half stars out of five.

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

By S.D. McKinley

S.D. McKinley lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. He was born in the first half of the 1980's and grew up in Wisconsin as a young boy, then moved to Georgia when he turned exactly twelve years old. During teenage years, he raced dirt track go karts and played guitar. He discovered his current love for all kinds of art after his mid-life crisis at 25 years old. S.D. McKinley began writing books in 2017.

14 replies on “Review: A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djèlí Clark”

Ten, it’s a great one and his other works are making the rounds in other blogs regarding best reads of the year for ’20. However, I won’t be reading, not in the near future.

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