Member Reviews

You Beneath Your Skin is one of the most realistic books I've read in a while. It forces you to think about tragic issues like acid- attack victims, bringing up a child with special needs. I was shocked, scared, outraged & hooked on to the book till the very end. The story of Anjali Morgan was portrayed so beautifully & it felt so real at all times. There were essentially two cases in the story, I felt the focus shift to Anjali's case, halfway through the book. The presence of some Hindi words & dialogues in the chapters have it a more authentic feeling. I was a bit disappointed to see the ending & hoped there was more than just that, but in keeping with the authenticness of the story the ending was entirely plausible. I found it very difficult to accept the ending. I loved the characters of Anjali, Nikhil & Maya. I did not like Jatin's character at all. This book took me on a roller-coaster of emotions. It was dark & compelling.

Thank You, NetGalley and Damyanti Biswas for an arc!

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Well written story. Kept me engaged the entire time. A page turner for sure! Looking forward to reading more books by this author!

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You Beneath Your Skin
I was pleasantly surprised to read this fast-paced, multi-faceted crime thriller where the reader encounters a world where crimes against women are on the rise and becoming even more gruesome in New Delhi – the capital – the city which has a dark murky side where women are attacked and disfigured by acid and left to die.
Anjali Morgan, the protagonist, is an Indo American, a psychiatrist who lives with her autistic son Nikhil and is in a relationship with the much married Jatin Bhatt, the police commissioner of the city. Both are dragged into the centre of the case where Anjali is called into consult and Jatin leads the investigation. On the top of it the narrative seems like a regular serial killer thriller but as the author delves into the grisly details of the crime, it is as if the readers witness the crime happening in front of their eyes. Such is the author’s attention to detail.
Added to this is Anjali’s complicated life where she has to care for her autistic son and deal with her intricate and sometimes suffocating relationship with Jatin. With demons in her past, and the challenges she has to face in her present, she gets entangled in the case so much that she literally gets trapped in it till she begins to realise the danger lurking behind.
Jatin Bhatt leads an investigation with his able team and in their pursuit of truth, the crimes get even more gruesome with prostitution, child abuse, drugs, murder and corruption amongst high ranking officers and with each crime the case gets murkier. Each turn of events uncovers secrets after secrets leaving the readers gasping for more.
I love the way Damayanti has developed her characters with utmost care and credibility...they are like the people we interact with in our everyday lives. They are so real with their everyday problems and issues. This adds to the story, making it more gripping and compelling. The creation of these fictitious characters in the most convincing way makes them real – he or she may be the boy or girl next door or the elderly man we encounter when we are out on our morning walk or the pretty lady at the cash counter of the grocery store. Their struggles, their strengths, their fears, their flaws, their quirks, their weaknesses are all something we can relate with.
The writing style is descriptive and what with the author’s ability for detailing, it is as if the scenes play out in front of our eyes as the plot develops. The story arc is perfect with just the right amount of dips and rises where the author strikes just when the iron is hot, hurtling us through a thrilling roller coaster ride. All in all a riveting read with an exhilarating climax. My score a perfect 5/5

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You Beneath Your Skin is about discovering the true self, accepting it against all adversities, and still find happiness. This book is much more than just a thriller or a crime novel, it’s a beautiful story filled with hopes, dreams, and love set in a dreadful world.

The character development was the focal point of the story. Each character had to discover and get in touch with their true self. What they really wanted. How they really felt. Make amends with the past. Do what they thought was the best thing. Protect the loved ones. And forgive themselves.

Although, this is by far a happy tale. Much like real life, not everything ends well, and in some strange way, it’s very satisfying. Even when there isn’t any fairness, I still managed to take some comfort off seeing the characters be at peace with themselves. And in a world with so much crime and corruption, where everyone seems to be against Anjali, being able to feel hope and love is a blessing.

I’m so glad I grabbed the opportunity to read this book and embark on this jaw-dropping journey. As I kept on reading, more and more things continued to happen. So many revelations, drama, crime, lies, it was a surprise after another. I never knew what was going to happen, how it would all end.

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You Beneath Your Skin is a crime thriller set in New Delhi. Anjali is mum to her autistic so , she’s also having an affair with a police officer who is investigating some really nasty, gruesome and violent crimes. Mainly against women, with rape, murder and disfigurement by acid attacks.

This is a police procedural with a difference, it highlights the brutality woman suffer, the accepted, casual misogyny in their daily lives. The huge gap between the rich and poor and how the wealthy exploit just about everything around us it seems. There is also the corruption, which helps stop these crimes being fully investigated at times. But, It also tells of love, family, self sacrifice and accepting the differences between us.

It’s a difficult read at times, due to the subject matter, but it’s written with such grace and hope, which makes it an unforgettable read. This will stay with me for a long time. If you like a thought provoking and heartfelt thriller, then this is a must read.

Thank you to The publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest, unbiased review.

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You Beneath Your Skin is a little slower paced than a lot of the crime fiction I read but this is an important story told with sensitivity and insight. The characters may be fictional but their experiences reflect very real issues which desperately need to be highlighted and talked about.
The book opens with Anjali Morgan desperately searching for her teenage son; Nikhil is autistic and has jumped out of a moving car in a busy shopping mall. Throughout the novel, Anjali's desire to protect Nikhil is a constant regardless of how difficult life becomes for her. Although I don't have direct experience of living with an autistic family member, I have friends who do and I have worked with autistic children, and from my own observations I feel that this is an empathetic and realistic portrayal of the challenges faced by autistic people and their families.
Anjali's history is slowly revealed as the book progresses and it is explained how she comes to be in a long-term affair with Jatin Bhatt and living in the same house as his sister and her friend, Maya. It took me a little while to work out how the various characters all fitted together but this isn't meant as a criticism as I felt it was an accurate picture of the importance of the institution of the family in India. Likewise, although I didn't always quite understand the political machinations within the police force, the corruption is only too obvious and it's understandable why somebody like Jatin has to forgo his principles to work within the system.
Jatin's female assistant, Kusum discovers that slum women are being horrifically assaulted and murdered before their painfully disfigured bodies are left stuffed into trash bags. That Jatin's first thought is how this case might further his career is a sad indictment of how little these women are valued. He enlists the help of Anjali as she works in the local hospital, meaning she is able to report back on the distressing post-mortem of one of the women, and Maya who has a small detective agency. When the storyline takes a shocking turn, this domestic crime novel becomes even more harrowing and the hospital scenes which really emphasise what an acid attack does to a person hit hard. There are parts of You Beneath Your Skin which are difficult to read but this is the reality for those - and it is most often women - who suffer acid attacks. The latter part of the book becomes really quite tense as those involved try to deal with the awful revelations and what the terrible repercussions mean for them all.
There has been some criticism about violence towards women in crime fiction but books like You Beneath Your Skin demonstrate why there is such a need for authors to write about the horrific assaults perpetrated on women when a misogynistic, patriarchal society still permits men to perpetrate these acts by allowing them to frequently escape proper justice. This dark, atmospheric novel is an authentic, unsentimental portrayal of some of the pressing issues facing cities like Delhi which are trying to look to the future while still dealing with the attitudes of the past. There is warmth, love and kindness here too and for all the horror, the strength of the women within these pages also inspires hope. You Beneath Your Skin is a brave, poignant and memorable read.

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Review for 'You Beneath your skin' by Damyanti Biswas
Read and reviewed via NetGalley

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 struggled with what to write for this review. I always promise an honest review and sometimes I struggle to put into words with how I feel. Trying my best though with this one...

I thought this book had a very good main plot in regards to acid attacks as this does need to be addressed more. It may not happen often in this country but sadly it still goes on in this world. I think it is fantastic that the author is giving the profits of this book to different charities to help victims of acid attacks. However, there was many points in the book where I got confused as I found there was a bit too much going on. There was a point that I was actually going to give up on it at approximately 25% but then the storyline picked up a bit.
The characters were strong but my feelings towards Anjali went from liking her character to thinking that she was a horrible person because of her decisions at the end after everything that went on with Jatin. I won't say any more than that as I don't want to give too much away.

There were a few parts where there was Hindi dialogue which went untranslated which I found frustrating and yet others where it was translated.

The pace of the book did pick up at about 25% where there was some more suspense and mystery which I quite enjoyed. I can't say I was completely surprised when discovering who was behind the acid attack although I was quite shocked that they were behind the other attacks, again I won't say too much.

Overall I thought it was a very good storyline but it could have been better written to speed the pace up a bit. I would still recommend this book to fans of crime but only to those who don't mind reading slower paced books. I rate this book 2.5/5 but as I can't give half ratings I decided to give it 3/5 as for me 2 is I didn't like it and 3 was it was OK and I feel it was OK but didn't like it in parts, hope that makes sense.

Free on kindle unlimited or £1.99 for kindle on Amazon

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When I read the book synopsis I thought it sounded right up my alley but unfortunately I just couldn't get into it. I got to 19% but that was a challenge. I put it aside but just never picked it up again. I do hope to try again next year.

I must give this book a 2 stars out of 5. The idea was great but it just didn't grab me early enough on to hook me in.

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#YouBeneathYourSkin #NetGalley
A good read.
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.
 Characters were good especially of Anjali Morgan.
Narration is simple.
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for giving me an advance copy of this book.

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I don't know how to begin writing this review. I have been looking for this book ever since I read good reviews about it and how chuffed I was when the author/publisher granted my request for it!
The book follows Anjali Morgan, a psychiatrist, Jatin, a commissioner of the Delhi Police, Varun, Jatin's son, Maya, Jatin's sister, and Pawan, Maya's detective assistant as they uncover crime happening in the murky Delhi slums. Women are being raped and then killed, acid burning their faces to prevent recognition. As they follow the case, they uncover layer after layer of secrets that were better hidden in the thick Delhi smog. All skeletons in the cupboard come out one after the other.

This book was heart-wrenching, gripping, exhilarating and grievous in equal measure. Who to trust and whom to disbelieve?
You will find the answers at the end.
The author has written an intricate tale of passion and crime, not a common feat for a first-timer. The characters are engaging and relatable. We know we will behave the same in their place. The story is fast-paced and amazing.
Kudos to Damyanti Biswas for writing a topic that no one usually addresses - acid attacks.
Looking forward to reading more from her!

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Nicely written, bringing back memories of my time in India
Involved plot, well paced and memorable characters

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In her debut novel, You Beneath Your Skin, Damyanti Biswas gives us a compelling psychological thriller which is not only a brilliant page-turner but shows us the truth about the misogyny and violence against women which sadly happens throughout the world.
The story opens when Anjali Morgan, a well-respected psychiatrist, is called to consult on a string of murders of young slum women, raped, murdered and disfigured with acid on the streets of New Delhi. Anjali already living a complicated life, being a single mother raising a special needs son named Nikhil, bearing the weight of a secretive past and working along-side her married boyfriend of ten years, Special Commissioner of Crime Jatin Bhatt is dragged into the center of a dark and dangerous case. Atmospheric and gritty we are witnesses to the investigation and the very real, very disturbing details of the crime. During the climax, Anjali finally begins to realize that she is on a path that may put herself and those she loves in grave jeopardy.
Personally, I loved everything about this book, I loved the detail brought to every scene, being immersed in the culture and most of all I love the way Anjali was written...her honesty, intelligence and insecurities all felt genuine making her very relatable.
To sum up, Ms Biswas gives us a flawlessly written, atmospheric, intriguing story with well developed, authentic, characters and an intricately plotted realistic crime story makes this such an incredibly entertaining and engrossing read that I would highly recommend!

About the Author
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 short stories have been published in magazines in the US, UK, and Asia, and she helps edit the Forge Literary Magazine. You can find her on her blog and twitter. All the author proceeds will go to Project WHY and StopAcid Attacks.

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I'm not really sure where to start with this one. It's a rare thing when a book can be both wonderful and awful all at once. It's wonderful, simply because this is a well written and deeply engaging story. The subject matter of the book is in many ways awful.
The story is set in New Delhi, it's not somewhere that I've ever been or know much about. Despite that, through the pages of this book, I felt as though I was there. It wasn't hard to picture the tea stall or the slums as the characters moved through them.
I tend to think that I'm quite good at spotting twists and turns before they happen in books, but this one got me more than once. In fact there's one point of the plot where I found myself thinking no? No? Surely not?! You can't help but be drawn into the plot of this book, following the characters as they discover who is behind the things that have been happening and why.
I enjoyed every second of this fantastic read and really didn't want to put it down until I'd got to the end and found out how it was going to all sort itself out.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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I purchased this book even before I requested it on Netgalley, but I requested it anyway and was approved.

The author Damyanti Biswas lives in Singapore, and has written many shorts / flash fiction, and this story derives from her experience working with NGOs in Delhi. The author also happens to be mentor of a prestigious writing competition.

The book come with the logline – Lies. Ambition. Family. There are primarily two characters, but the story progresses through five POVs....

The complete review on my website:

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Having tead the blurb for this one i was intrigued to give it a tead and i was glad i did , a novel full of the dark side of life in the slums of India where corruption is rife and violence reigns supreme

Well written and worth reading

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A gripping and entertaining read. A story that sends out a very strong message about acid attacks, trafficking and much more.
Biswas is a master storyteller and her debut novel is just a proof of that. The characters are very well portrayed. Each of the character's story/dilemma is so intricately weaved into one big story.
The story is sure to take the reader on an emotional roller-coaster. If you like mysteries then I would highly recommend you to read this book.

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