Where do I start? What do I say? You Beneath Your Skin is Damyanti’s debut novel – it’s too good to believe that!
Anjali Morgan came to India with her autistic son, Nikhil, years ago. Juggling between her job as a psychiatrist and attending to Nikhil’s needs has taken a toll on her health. As she sees her pale and blotchy skin in the mirror, her inner critic has nothing but negative to say about Anjali’s decisions so far. Brought up by an insensitive and controlling mother has made Anjali almost hate herself!
Jatin Bhatt’s life is no different. He and Anjali had a whirlwind romance while in the US. He came back to take care of his mother. Then came job and marriage to a woman who doesn’t love him. His son, Varun, seems to be the ‘ideal son that every parent would dot on’ but seeing is not believing, is it?
A series of horrific crimes seems to have gripped the nation’s capital. Women from slums are brutally raped and killed, their bodies disfigured by acid. Kusum, a young cop, and Jatin, along with Pawan, decide to solve this case. But as they proceed, a tragedy happens – something that puts Anjali and Jatin’s lives in jeopardy.
I have been following Damyanti’s writing for quite some time now and when I heard that her debut novel’s released, I couldn’t wait to read it. Like I said before, (and I do not mind stressing on this point again and again), You Beneath Your Skin is too good to believe that it is Damyanti’s debut novel!
The spine-tingling horrific details of acid attacks and murders, the emotional trauma that the victim and their family suffer, corruption and politics, and most importantly, betrayal – by family. Damyanti has done an excellent job in portraying all of this to the minutest details and hats off to her for that. The amount of research that she’s put into getting all the facts straight and right is truly appreciable.
Each and every character have their own story – their turbulent past and present. And when they all come together to solve a bigger problem, their woes and worries seem to disappear away, even if for a while. Anjali’s story makes you cry! The woman has never been happy – controlling mother, betrayal by her husband, autistic son and his needs, and to add to it all – a tragedy that might take her to an abyss.
Jatin’s love for Anjali knows no limits. I do not want to say anything more about it because that would mean revealing some major plot twists. Maya (Jatin’s sister) and Pawan have their own issues too. Sakhi, Varun, Nikhil, Dorothy and Mr Mehra, they all had something to contribute – some good, some bad.
You Beneath Your Skin takes you on an emotional roller-coaster ride. The character and plot development are simply superb. Oh, the details and the emotions – mind blowing! I am a sucker for one-of-a-kind endings. If you ask me, I would say the story had a Happy Ending. Sometimes, the choices we make take us on a new path – a new journey. That is just what the ending was all about.
The story starts on a slow note but picks up pace soon after. (Say, at around 25% through the book) But this is definitely worth a read or two! It’s been a day since I read this but the story still plays like a movie in my head. There are some books that make you feel so, don’t they? 🙂
I recommend you to read this book. If you aren’t used to Indian Writing, then you might find some of the wordings and quotes a tad difficult to follow through but do not worry, the translations are there too. Also, the author is going to contribute the earnings from this book to Project Why and Chhanv Foundation (Stop Acid Attacks).
Writing Style: 4.5/5
Character Development: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Title: You Beneath Your Skin
Author: Damyanti Biswas
Published on: 17th September 2019
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers
Purchase Link: Amazon.com