I have known Damyanti and her blog Daily (w)rite, since the time I started blogging. Last year, I got to know Damyanti a little more when we met in Mumbai. She is a generous soul and I absolutely admire her dedication towards social causes, especially her passion towards the cause of Project WHY.
So, without further ado, here’s the cover! The red and black immediately captures nuances of an atmospheric crime story and the face visible under the title makes you wonder who she is, and what her story might be. This is not a regular crime story, it has nuances that are rare in the run of the mill crime stories.
Lies. Ambition. Family.
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.
I received an advance review copy and it was difficult to put down the copy even for a second. You Beneath Your Skin is not a typical whodunnit crime thriller. This is much more than that. Each character in this novel has a unique story to tell, and each one is intertwined with the other in a unique way. Each character has a background, has secrets buried and ambitions. Anjali is dealing with the past trauma of dealing with a narcissist mother and a sad divorce. For her, every day is a struggle between her job and her autistic son. Her only relaxation is to spend some time with Jatin in a hotel room secretly. Jatin is also a layered character who is patriarchal yet vulnerable, he is torn between his wife Drishti and Anjali. His father-in-law is also his boss and his son is going haywire. He also has to deal with the demons of a dead abusive father. His sister Maya is the link that holds together Anjali, Jatin and Anjali’s son. This is not a typical detective thriller where the only aim is to find the killer, it is much more than that. It deals with the very important issue of acid-attack that is a menace in India, especially the northern part of India. A tale of power, corruption and its effect on New Delhi. Damyanti’s thorough research on the subject is evident throughout the book and it is difficult to put down this book.
The author of You Beneath your Skin, Damyanti Biswas, lives in Singapore and works with Delhi’s underprivileged children as part of Project WHY, a charity that promotes education and social enhancement in underprivileged communities. Her passion for social causes is an inspiration to many. Her short stories have been published in magazines in the US, UK, and Asia, and she helps edit the Forge LiteraryMagazine.You can find her on her blog and twitter. All the author proceeds from this book will go to Project Why and #Stopacidattacks
I would highly recommend this book to my readers because this novel is not merely a crime thriller but it deals with genuine social menaces like acid-attack, gang rape, and murder that captures the headlines of New Delhi more often than desired. I enjoyed this book and am sure you would too. This book is also supporting the underprivileged children under Project WHY, (all the more reason to grab a copy and support a cause). How do you feel about this book after going through the cover reveal? Do let me know in the comment section.
A request to my readers that please share this post with the hashtag #YouBeneathYourSkin and tag @SimonandSchusterIN @projectwhydelhi and @stopacidattacks on twitter and Instagram. I hope you will pre-order this book. Happy reading.