Damyanti Biswas: You Beneath Your Skin

This review is written with thanks to the author for my copy of You Beneath Your Skin.

Blurb:

It’s a dark, smog-choked new Delhi winter. Indian American single mother Anjali Morgan juggles her job as a psychiatrist with caring for her autistic teenage son. She is in a long-standing affair with ambitious police commissioner Jatin Bhatt – an irresistible attraction that could destroy both their lives.

Jatin’s home life is falling apart: his handsome and charming son is not all he appears to be, and his wife has too much on her plate to pay attention to either husband or son. But Jatin refuses to listen to anyone, not even the sister to whom he is deeply attached.

Across the city there is a crime spree: slum women found stuffed in trash bags, faces and bodies disfigured by acid. And as events spiral out of control Anjali is horrifyingly at the centre of it all …

In a sordid world of poverty, misogyny, and political corruption, Jatin must make some hard choices. But what he unearths is only the tip of the iceberg. Together with Anjali he must confront old wounds and uncover long-held secrets before it is too late.

Review:

You Beneath Your Skin is set in India and I was transported there straight away. Biswas opened my eyes to a different side of India to what I have seen before, and the dark underbelly of politics, corruption and abuse provides an interesting backdrop to a compelling story.

Many of the characters in You Beneath Your Skin have close family links with each other and the dynamic between them adds an extra layer to the complex relationships in the novel. The characters are well developed and Biswas frequently makes us aware of how they feel in the difficult situations that arise during the novel. I was particularly impressed with the way Nikhil is presented. It is quite rare for autism to be explored in novels and I appreciated the opportunity to consider how it affected the lives of the characters.

There are two main plots in You Beneath Your Skin and they both explore some very relevant issues. However, I felt that, at times, they distracted from each other, as they could easily be two separate stories although they do come together at the end. Nevertheless there is a lot of tension in the novel that kept me reading to the very end.

The author has agreed to donate the proceeds from You Beneath Your Skin to charities which support victims of acid attacks.

You Beneath Your Skin is available from Amazon.

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