You Beneath Your Skin by Damyanti Biswas

You beneath Your skin is an intricate crime story centred on Indian American single mother and psychiatrist Anjali Morgan. She relocated to Delhi from America with her autistic teenage son and fights a daily battle to meet his complex needs. 

Damyanti Biswas

It is a multiple-point-of-view story that unfolds Anjali’s relationships with those closest to her. Her best friend Maya, from whom she rents an apartment at her family home. Her long-standing affair with Maya’s married brother, police commissioner Jatin whom she met in America when he was a student under the mentorship of her deceased father. He later left for India and became a police commissioner, married to his powerful boss’s daughter, an indifferent wife and mother. They have a son Varun who is perfect in his father’s eyes, with a lot going on under the surface.

Once Damyanti had made us understand these complicated relationships, we were off on a gritty, gripping ride!

You beneath Your skin takes us through the slums of Delhi with a theme that covers, poverty, power and corruption, love, betrayal, and drug dealing with the brutal murder of slum women burned with acid at its heart.

It is a crime book unafraid of digging deep into the city’s underbelly. Also, in this story, no character is safe!

Damyanti delivers a brilliant debut with layers of intrigue and twists that expose corruption in a way that I have not seen in fiction in a long time.

I loved reading this book and look forward to reading her next one, The Blue Bar.

My Other Husband by Dorothy Koomson

My other Husband is Dorothy Koomson’s 18th novel, and she delivered well! I actually got to a point where I could not put the book down till I finished it!. Dorothy is a Queen of twisty psychological thrillers. So I loved that some months back, she invited me to her proof party with a tissue-wrapped gift copy of the proof, a nice packet of coffee and Maltesers. Maltesers is a favourite in the story!

My Other Husband is the story of  Cleo Forsum, a successful screenwriter of crime fiction, married to a lovely husband and with a life to envy. But Cleo has decided to shatter that perfect life by seeking to divorce her husband and ending her TV series. Someone is hunting her by killing people precisely as it happens in her series and framing her.    From there begins our journey into Dorothy’s dark, twisty world as we go on a trip with Cleo, who harbours a deep secret that is the cause of her problems.

My Other Husband covers the theme of love and obsession. Dorothy’s writing on love and relationships are never simple as her protagonists are mostly angst-ridden complex women with secrets.

What is also striking is our intimate view into Cleo’s life. Dorothy zooms us into her head and we feel her fears, including some of her serious bed action. Hmmm… tastefully done, of course!

The grand reveal came at the mid-point and with a slam! And from then, we’re on a roller coaster ride to a satisfying end.

Cleo was a lucky, unlucky girl with two panting hot men! I can’t say more than that.

Go get your copy!

Some of my favourite books of 2021

This is always incredibly difficult because there are so many damn good writers out there! Then to complicate matters, I am a judge for a prize in 2022 and have been going through a heap of books that I can’t disclose. 

So, I have not been able to do much book review this year, but I have many books that I wait to read in 2022!

Here are the books I will mention that made an impression –

KINTU by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi. I love her fiction that weaves the history of Uganda and also life in diaspora. I have her other books including MANCHESTER HAPPENED – her book of short stories.  She has won a few prizes, but I can see her winning big ones in the future. I will do a review soon.

LOVE IN COLOUR by Bolu Babalola is light and fluffy and re-imagines love using mythology. I liked what she tried to do. Our writing should not be heavyweight all the time.

I read Louise Hare’s THIS LOVELY CITY, a strong crime fiction set in London’s Windrush arrival in the 50s. Louise created a sense of place and time, and I loved her characters and the final twist in the story.

I went back to an old classic, YARDIE by Victor Headley, who took me back to the backwater London of the 80s where the streets were dangerous, and Jamaican bad guys were revered. I am not sure a lot has changed, and perhaps we need a modern take on this. Aspiring Victor Headleys, I’m calling out to you!

I have read and will review The JIGSAW MAN by Nadine Matheson. An ambitious debut with an unforgettable lead in DI Anjelica Henley. Nadine has THE BINDING ROOM coming out in 2022, and I am looking forward to my copy!

I KNOW WHAT YOU’VE DONE by Dorothy Koomson – I thorougly enjoyed this and plan to review this as well. I loved my interview with Dorothy in August at the H&SWriters Festival coordinated by @rashedaashanti. She has written seventeen good books, is absolutely focused on her craft, and supports ‘young’ up-and-coming authors like me.

BROTHERS IN BLOOD by Amer Anwar is another one for review – It introduces Zaq Khan and allows us to travel on a rollercoaster ride through Southall, West London and the Asian community there.

BROKEN PLACES by Tracy Clark takes me on a ride through Chicago with her police turned private detective Cass Raines. I really loved it, and it is also up for review.

BP Walter’s HOLD YOUR BREATH. Barnaby reached out to me on Instagram re: Deadly Sacrifice, and I decided to read his book. What a find! So, I am collecting all his other books to read. He gifted me the DINNER GUEST, which I look forward to reading and reviewing.

MIDNIGHT HOUR is an anthology by some Crime Writers of Color @CWoC and edited by @AbbyVandilever. I am proud to be a part of this incredible line-up of authors! I have just finished the first two, Tracy Clark’s LUCKY THIRTEEN and David Heska Wanbli Weiden’s SKIN and what great reads. so I am in for a treat with all the others.   My short story, THE BLACK WIDOW OF OSHOGBO, introduces ex-army and ex-secret agent Lara from a new series that I will be polishing off in 2022/2023.

Finally, Hollywood Homicide and Hollywood Ending by Kellye Garrett. She brought us broke former actress and aspiring detective Dayna Day. It is good to have fun and laughs, and Kellye’s Dayna is funny as she stumbles through her investigations. Kellye has re-issued the series as eBooks so go get yourselves some copies and enjoy some belly laughs!

So, what will I be reading in 2022? Here is some of my pile! Many have been on my TBR for a while, but I cannot wait to read and review them!

Image by Stellaonithewriter
Image by Stellaonithewriter

Have a wonderful and Happy New year!