Book Review: You Beneath Your Skin By Damayanti Biswas

Book Review: You Beneath Your Skin By Damayanti Biswas

Title: You Beneath Your Skin

Author: Damayanti Biswas

Price: 250 INR

Link to Purchase: You Beneath Your Skin

Format: Paperback

Synopsis:

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.

My Take:

Alert: Potential Spoilers Ahead

As I read the book, I could see that the author has done a lot of research work before writing the book. She seems to have firsthand knowledge of police methods of solving a crime and the internal politics that plagues the Indian police departments. I could also make out that she has done a lot of research about how prostitution and the drug dens of India work. The characters of the parties involved are grey, and not black and white as in the case of many thrillers. The relationships between the characters are fleshed out well. Anjali’s relationship with her mother which is brought out to us in the form of flashbacks gives us a vivid idea about her mentally abusive childhood. The sacrifices she is willing to make for her son are touching. The book centres in a major way about how she is constantly thinking about helping her son avoid catastrophe. This brings out a mother’s love for her child vividly. Initially, when I started reading the book, I was going slow, but by the time I reached the 40th or 50th page, the book became quite unputdownable.

I read the first 40 to 50 pages on the first day I started the book and the suspense kept me awake for a long time that night. The next day I picked up the book, and I did not put down the book right till the time, I finished it. Damayanti avoids sensationalism throughout this book. If you are looking for a died in the wool thriller, this is not the book for you. On the other hand, if you want to read a book which reflects the true methods used by the police for solving a crime you will like this book. There are some very tender moments shown in the interactions between Anjali and Jatin. Another thing I loved about the book is the way Damayanti has peppered the book everywhere with Ghalib’s verses along with their English translations. These verses are real gems that add flavour to the book. The way Jatin remains steadfast in his love for Anjali is another thing that touched me to the core. And the way he involuntarily reveals his love for Anjali to his sister in a moment of agony is another thing that touched me.

And it would be remiss of me if I do not mention a bit about the ending. The ending left me feeling sad and slightly miserable. It is not what can be called an exactly unhappy ending but then it is not a fairy tale ending either. I well and truly wished it were different. But on reflection, I realized that Damayanti has selected an ending that mirrors real life. Ninety per cent of criminal cases in India end up this way. It is almost impossible in our country to stand up to the powerful and mighty. All in all, this is a wonderful book. I wish the ending had been a happy one, that is all.

Conclusion: A very big Yay! I simply loved this book every bit of the way. Please do read it if you are looking for a book that deals with crime in India in a realistic way.

Rating: I go with a 4.5/5 for Damayanti Biswas’s ‘You Beneath Your Skin’. I have deducted 0.5 points for the book because it made me feel sad at the end. 🙂

Rating Scale:

                 1 Poor

                 2 Fair

                 3 Good

                 4 Excellent

                 5 Outstanding

I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa

39 Thoughts to “Book Review: You Beneath Your Skin By Damayanti Biswas”

  1. I detest sad endings too. Guess I will give this book a miss inspite of really liking the review

    1. Jai

      The ending is not exactly sad. But is not a happy one either. What I meant was it is not a fairy tale ending and will leave you feeling sad if you are a sensitive type like me. That is if you are an old fashioned person like me and love the ‘all is well and that ends well’ kind of ending. Do try the book out, because otherwise it is a fantastic book and will hold you spellbound.

  2. I have loved reading the book. Sometimes we tend to avoid reading that shows us the reality and upsets us but Damyanti’s work has made me pick up other books as well in the crime genre. You Beneath The Skin is a must-read.

    1. Jai

      Yes, it is a great book and by sad ending what I meant was it is not a fairy tale ending but mirrors reality. I loved the book.

  3. Good to learn about this book. Will surely check it out. Thank you for this review.

    1. Jai

      Thank you, Mayura. Do read it. It is a great book.

  4. Afreen Ansari

    Books and movies with sad endings isn’t my cup of tea. Otherwise the book seems great

    1. Jai

      The ending is not exactly sad. But is not a happy one either. What I meant was it is not a fairy tale ending and will leave you feeling sad if you are a sensitive type like me. That is if you are an old fashioned person like me and love the ‘all is well and that ends well’ kind of ending. Do try the book out, because otherwise it is a fantastic book and will hold you spellbound.

  5. I am not that keen on crime genre…though as you have given this book such a high rating, I think I could give it a read.

    1. Jai

      Try reading it. It is a great book and very realistic.

  6. Jyoti Jha

    Thankyou for introducing this book to us. Your review has surely intrigued me to pickup this thriller. Although sad endings are gloomy, a touch of reality is sometimes necessary.

    1. Jai

      The ending is not exactly sad. But is not a happy one either. What I meant was it is not a fairy tale ending and will leave you feeling sad if you are a sensitive type like me. That is if you are an old fashioned person like me and love the ‘all is well and that ends well’ kind of ending. Do try the book out, because otherwise it is a fantastic book and will hold you spellbound.

  7. I agree with you Jai that the author has done good research on the topic before and while writing this crime novel. In fact, in her interview on my Facebook page, she revealed that she personally went to Delhi places and edited her scenes accordingly.

    1. Jai

      Yes, Geethica. Damayanti has done a lot of research before writing this book. I could make that out when I read the book.

  8. Ahhh .. We already saw so much in 2020, not picking any other sad ending book 🙂

    1. Jai

      The ending is not exactly sad. But is not a happy one either. What I meant was it is not a fairy tale ending and will leave you feeling sad if you are a sensitive type like me. That is if you are an old fashioned person like me and love the ‘all is well and that ends well’ kind of ending. Do try the book out, because otherwise it is a fantastic book and will hold you spellbound.

  9. Deepa Gandhi

    This sounds like a book that I will surely enjoy. Thanks for the detailed review.

    1. Jai

      Try out the book. It is simply a great book.

  10. That’s a nice review of an interesting book, thanks for sharing about Beneath your skin, I will check it out.

    1. Jai

      It is a great book. Very realistic and wonderfully written. Do try it out.

  11. I have been reading a lot about this book from Damyanti ji. You review compels me even more. Have ordered it and it has arrived. Now next is to just jump into it. Thanks for this informative review.

    #MyFriendAlexa #ContemplationOfaJoker #Jokerophilia

    1. Jai

      Yes, Manas. It is a great book. Do start reading soon. It gets unputdownable once you start reading it.

  12. Story, great. Protagonists, good. Premise, awesome. Sade ending, nope. Big nope!

    1. Jai

      The ending is not exactly sad. But is not a happy one either. What I meant was it is not a fairy tale ending and will leave you feeling sad if you are a sensitive type like me. That is if you are an old fashioned person like me and love the ‘all is well and that ends well’ kind of ending. Do try the book out, because otherwise it is a fantastic book and will hold you spellbound.

  13. I am highly impressed with the fact that damyanti did a proper reasearch and shown the ways that police used in solving crimes in real life. Loved the way you had reviewed it.

    1
    1. Jai

      Thank you Surbhi. Pick it up. It is a great book.

  14. I’m not a fan of thrillers I’m more of a romance and fiction reader, I did like the plot but I don’t want to read a book with unhappy and realistic endings, i still want to read this one because of it’s suspense and uncovering the truth…

    1
    1. Jai

      Yes, do read it. The author has done a great job. The ending is not exactly sad. But is not a happy one either. What I meant was it is not a fairy tale ending and will leave you feeling sad if you are a sensitive type like me. That is if you are an old fashioned person like me and love the ‘all is well and that ends well’ kind of ending. Do try the book out, because otherwise it is a fantastic book and will hold you spellbound.

  15. Well, I am intrigued right from the synopsis. This seems like a good crime story with characters that have a dark shade and a past they don’t want to uncover.

    1
    1. Jai

      Yes, it is Lancelot. It is very realistic and does not resort to sensationalism. It is a great story. Do read it.

  16. That’s a detailed review of the book and I am going to read it soon. And I appreciate your honesty for cutting short of 0.5 star for sad ending.

    1
    1. Jai

      Do read it. The ending is not exactly sad but it is not a happy one either. But in spite of that, it is a really great book and will hold you spellbound.

    1. Jai

      I read your review. It is really good and you have not given any spoilers. Thanks for visiting.

      1. Thanks for reading and commenting.

        1
  17. You have really written a wonderful review. From your detailed review I can see that the details in the book are very realistic and well researched. But I am not sure if this book is for me. Thank you for sharing the detailed review though.

    1
    1. Jai

      If you are rejecting the book because of the ending then I would like to mention one thing. The ending is not exactly sad. But is not a happy one either. What I meant was it is not a fairy tale ending and will leave you feeling sad if you are a sensitive type like me. That is if you are an old fashioned person like me and love the ‘all is well and that ends well’ kind of ending. Do try the book out, because otherwise it is a fantastic book and will hold you spellbound.

  18. Thats a realy honest review and your rating system is really transparent.

    1
    1. Jai

      Thank you Mandavi. I try to usually give an honest review. Sometimes it is brutal too. But this book is really good with its tortuous turns and twists. And I would like to mention something about the ending too. The ending is not exactly sad. But is not a happy one either. What I meant was it is not a fairy tale ending and will leave you feeling sad if you are a sensitive type like me. That is if you are an old fashioned person like me and love the ‘all is well and that ends well’ kind of ending. Do try the book out, because otherwise it is a fantastic book and will hold you spellbound.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.