Author : Ravi Subramanian
Publisher : Rupa Publications
Price : Rs.250
To be truthful, I haven’t read any other book by Ravi Subramanian. But a quick Google search indicated that he has quite a few books behind him along with a good fan following. Frankly, I chose this book because I liked the cover . There was something dark, broody and mysterious about a man standing with his back to us against (what I presume) the Mumbai skyline.
Anyhow, about the book.
“The Bankster” deals with three different storylines which are brought together by a fourth. The narratives run in parallel before they are beautifully merged towards the end.
The first thread is about the life in a private sector bank of international repute. The second story deals with a father’s vow to keep the memory of his son alive. The third story is about the illegal deals of armaments and diamonds as blood money.
The bank is faced with the sudden demise of four important employees, who supposedly committed ‘suicide’. All is not what it appears to be, everyone is suspicious and it is difficult to keep tongues from wagging.
The father in Kerala wants to do all he can to prevent the set up of a nuclear power plant in his neighboring town. Little does he know what he was getting into when he actively takes help (and money) from a local MLA and a NGO.
A CIA agent, who has infiltrated the arms and diamonds market must do all to keep his identity a secret.
Surprisingly, the main protagonist who brings these different narratives to a closure arrives much later in the book (almost half-way). Till then, along with the regular suspense of these three threads, we also have the suspense of how exactly are these three very different tales connected?!! The character of Karan Punjabi is a mix of Sherlock Holmes and Poirot. I was a little miffed that the character took so little time to figure out the links. It was the only thing that struck a false note in this otherwise gripping book. Minor quibbles aside, “The Bankster” is a book that is difficult to put down after halftime. I’ll confess that there were some sections in the first half which dragged a little. But once you reach halfway, the book simply runs on full throttle
It is nice to see how beautifully Ravi has taken the current events in India and abroad to string together this book. I admire the thought process and research that must have gone behind bringing this book together. The current anti-nuclear plant protest in Kundankulam becomes the backdrop for the second thread in the book ( the nuclear plant protest in Kerala).
For people like me who have no finance background, it was nice to know what happens within the walls of private banks. How customers are fleeced and how cover-up are made. It all came as an eye-opener, actually. I had some problem getting through those pages initially, but the language of the book is really simple and clear and it made for easy reading. One grouse that I have is that usually in English novels, when local language is used, the words are printed in Italics. Not so here. I’m sure if any non-Indians read the book, they will look for the words in a dictionary and not find them there K. Also, proofreading and spell-check is needed in a couple of places.
But these are very minor quibbles . The book is fantastic and a definite page turner. I wouldn’t like to compare Ravi with any other international author because I believe his style is unique and his own. It fills me with pride to read Indian authors who can produce such quality work of truly international standards.
Do pick up your copy of “The Bankster”. A definite must-read.