Thursday, November 08, 2012

Book Review: The Bankster by Ravi Subramanian

First look at the cover from a distance and you can be forgiven to think of this as a Batman Book. The cover draws inspiration (my personal thoughts) from the Dark Knight poster. With the book in hand, you realize its different but the appreciation for the cover design and styling does not go. I have written about the cover designs of Indian novels improving over the past year or so and this is yet another example of a superb cover design.

The novel starts out with a bang … CIA, arms pilferage to terrorists, blood diamonds … and then contrasts to another incident where a old couple in kerala is caught up in the vicious trap of the local police and their son goes through the pain of seeing his father being humiliated and then moving away from the country where a couple of years later, he is a victim of a nuclear disaster.

After this 'start-with-a-bang', the story sort of fizzles out …
The author then begins to introduce different characters of a bank in Mumbai and the story seems to describe the target-meeting-frenzy, office politics, extra marital affairs and greed of individuals and the conflicts of those who don't fall in line with the others. A parallel track about a nuclear power plant and protest against its commissioning is also there; with the involvement of politicians and powerful people. The bang at the start is forgotten.
And then a person dies. Written off as an accident and soon forgotten. There are some minor events happening to bank (giving you some faint feeling that it is a build up to a major event; but no direct linkages shown) and the protest against the nuclear power plant is moving on.
I was expecting a 'fast paced eventful' story and was disappointed. The story moves at a steady pace as if describing the protest and life in a bank without really any criminal activity happening (only alluding to it very very indirectly).
And then another murder(s) and then another one and the story picks up pace … with the active involvement of a new character who turns out to become the protagonist of the story (although appearing half way thro the novel)
After a slow and steady first half … the novel turns pacy and racy in the second half becoming almost an unputdownable. The story converges in the end and all the loose ends are tied together. Several of the small unimportant details become suddenly significant and play an important role in typing them up together.
The climax is really good and the suspense is fantastic. This could have been a script of a bollywood suspense movie and I wish someone picks up this book to convert it into a movie. At least the masses who haven't read this book will get to see a good suspense thriller after a long time.
One good thing about the book was something which relieved me of my biggest worry about Ravi's novels. All his novels have been related to Banking and I was wary of reading a novel full of banking terms and fundas. Thankfully, this novel does not drown you in an ocean of banking industry jargon. Encourages me to pick up other novels by Ravi.
One last point … the book review copy I received was signed by the author. A very good read and an author signed copy is a nice combination and I will cherish this one for long. This is one of the very few author signed novels I have and this will actually be the best author signed novel that I have :)
 Note: This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at  ... Participate now to get free books!


  1. Ravi Subramanian has got an expertise to connect to his readers, create a magnetic theme and get his readers absorbed deep into each page of his thriller. The Bankster is as absorbing as his earlier four thrillers. He drives his story quite exhaustively and beautifully with full command on the subject and clarity in concept. That probably has come due to Author's extensive experience in banking sector for years. It seems for all those years of his career in banking, he drank and ate all the core processes of banking so well and hence has been able to bring out such a fantastic piece of work.

    This is his first work that I have read and decided to review, such was the charismatic story of BANKSTER. Karan Panjabi, who enters into the story of The Bankster quite late but has been characterized in a very strong manner, probably is the replica of Ravi Subramanian himself in real life, so sharp and quick in resolving a series of murders mystery. Not all murders happen in same manner, neither happened in the same place of country. But there was a deep connect in all serial killings that happened in various countries and that is where the expertise of Karan Panjabi comes into picture who gets hardly 48 hours to resolve this case. Author takes you to various cities around the globe - Angola, Vienna, Mumbai and Devikulam to get you acquainted with various characters of the story and get you engaged in the plot well woven.

    Basically, the story is about a multinational bank that is doing quite well in terms of business in its various branches all across India after entering the country. Greater Boston Global Bank or GB2 is operative in all major cities of India and has its country headquarter in one of its branches in Mumbai. GB2 in quite professional in its approach and focuses on hiring best of the breed available in market. It boasts of best practices in HR, Operations, Marketing, Financing and Sales. Somehow among all good things there is a chain of wrong people who are spoiling the show by having connections with high level of international mafia/ gang and thus do not hesitate in getting down to any level of wrongdoing. These wrongdoing culprits are not only weakening the roots of GB2 bank but also getting involved into some extreme crimes.

    This interesting story hints on quite a few guys as culprits in the network but who turn out to be innocent and otherwise. Overall it is quite neatly woven and engrossing read that will keep you hooked throughout.

  2. Thanks for your comment. It was almsot like an entire review in the comment :)

    Now readers who come to this page get to read 2 reviews on one page