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A detailed book review of The Bankster by Ravi Subramanian

A detailed book review of The Bankter by Ravi Subramanian
The Bankster by Ravi Subramanian

Syncopy, er Synopsis :P

The book begins with three parallel stories and then in the mid-way is left with two stories. The parallel stories are that of Joseph Braganza in Angola, Greater Boston Global Bank (GB2) in Mumbai, and Krishna Memon in Devikulam, Kerala. Braganza, a CIA agent, is trading Blood Diamonds in Angola. Corporate Politics are in action in GB2. Menon is against a Nuclear Power Plant in his region because of a promise he promised to his son who died as the aftermath of the Chernobyl Accident.
In the book, Braganza is not talked much about and gets lost somewhere in the mid-way, but that is for a reason.

GB2 is where most of the plot unfolds. Vikram, Tanuja, Zinaida, Harshita and Raymond are the characters that I think should be noteworthy. Vikram is the head of Retail Banking, Tanuja – the head of HR, Zinaida (a bombshell!) and Harshita are the Relationship Managers in Bandra Branch, Raymond works in compliance department, the one that keeps in check the ethics or the wrong doings in the banks. The plot unfolds after most of the characters are introduced. The problem begins with an alleged accident of a cashier by the name of Pranesh. But then things come back to normal, it’s an accident after all, no? The plot or rather the problem begins when Zinaida opens an account (with Vikram’s indirect reference) of Asia Logistics. As it draws in huge amounts of money from abroad and withdraws money within different branches across India, the compliance officer, Raymond finds it fishy but he is asked to keep quiet as the account is from someone who knows Vikram. Initially he keeps quiet but he does not give up on it. Harshita along with her husband gets murdered in Vienna, Austria. Raymond finds out something the very next day and hence wants to contact Indrani, CEO of GB2 but as she is busy it does not happen. And, next, he is found dead with a suicide note.

Enter Karan Panjabi, a reporter in TOI. Our protagonist is a friend of Raymond. Raymond was able to tell him that there was something fishy within the bank before dying. Karan then goes to Indrani and offers to help her solve the murders of the employees because he Raymond was his friend and the he might get a scoop in to the scam. Indrani agrees on the condition that the name of the bank won’t be depicted in a bad way. Karan, then with help of some employees from the bank, completely unfolds the plot and the crime.

Krishan Menon is against the Nuclear Power Plant in Devikulam because the government has overlooked the safety of a million people in the vicinity. His movement gets noticed when Jayakumar a social worker get involved. But something goes wrong; Jayakumar is there for his own selfish reasons.
Who is the culprit in GB2? What is the crime? What has Menon got to do with the plot? What happens to Joseph Braganza? What is the end? To get answers to all of them, read the book. (Buy from Flipkart and Homeshop18)

My say

I must say that I did not expect such book from an Indian author. Some of recent times’ authors are to be blamed and even Subramanian, himself, is to be blamed for this. It is not that I am accusing India authors of writing poor but I have never heard Indian authors of writing thrillers and I had previously read ‘If God was a Banker’ by Subramanian which was okay. But this book is one of the best I have read in recent times by any Indian author. The plot is almost flawless (mostly technical) and the stories, although parallel, seamlessly merge to form the plot. You might not find the banking ethics and norms new if you have read ‘If god was a banker.’ But the characters seem a bit weak. We don’t know much about Panjabi other than his corporate history and that he is an intelligent investigator. The only character who had been depicted satisfactorily is Zinaida, her character is enough to give one wet dreams :P But I was a bit happy with Raymond’s character. You can feel him if you imagine to be in his place. That is why Raymond is my favourite character in my book. Other thing to take a note of is the description. At the beginning, everything is described in detail, and at the end the description is less, at least that is what I felt. The plot is majorly based in Mumbai and you can easily make out the places mentioned.

The author wrote the book for a wider audience, an audience that does not read thrillers. That is why the plot is simple, and it is explained in detail in the end. Nonetheless, the plot is written is such a way that there seems a possibility in reality. And I would say that it is a successful attempt.


Hardcore thriller readers might not enjoy that much but worth a read for them. Someone who has never read thriller or does not read thrillers should read it straight away  It is a good book. Hope to read more such books from Subramanian. And yes, I’d try to read the other banking thrillers by him.

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