Digging Deeper into You Beneath Your Skin by Damyanti Biswas
You Beneath Your Skin starts with Anjali Morgan, one of the protagonists, losing her autistic teenaged son at a shopping mall in cold, smoggy New Delhi. We’re soon introduced to her complex life. The fact that she’s carrying on a clandestine affair with the much-married brother of her best friend, Jatin, who is a police commissioner. Her struggles as a parent, and as a psychologist in New Delhi. And then, the chilling serial killings.
Slum women are found naked, stuffed into trash-bags, their faces disfigured with acid, making them very difficult to identify. Anjali begins to help Jatin with the case, given that he doesn’t want to involve a forensic psychologist for reasons of his own.
In some ways, besides being a crime novel, this is Anjali and Jatin’s love story. In another, it is a story about parenting—each of them with their sons—in modern, urban India.
When a horrific incident upends their lives, Jatin and Anjali must stand by each other despite the odds and their conflicting realities.
How did you come up with the idea?
You Beneath Your Skin started with Anjali Morgan. She began to haunt my writing exercises, and then my dreams in 2011. She’s American, an outsider to New Delhi, despite having lived in the city for twelve years, and I began asking questions about her.
What does she long for? What is she afraid of? What does she value the most? What if it is taken away from her? Who is this man she’s sleeping with? What does she think of that relationship? What’s her equation with her autistic son like? How does she look at the city she has adopted?
The cast of characters began to take shape, after which the story came in, and then the culprit. It turned into a whydunit, and I hope everyone gets as much out of reading as I did writing it!
Blurb: You Beneath Your Skin
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.
Bio: 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. Her debut crime novel You Beneath Your Skin has been optioned for screen by Endemol Shine.
Amazon buy link: You Beneath Your Skin
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