Well, first of all my gratitude towards BlogAdda to provide me the opportunity to review this book.
Ravi Subramanian, it is said for some time now, is the John Grisham of Banking thriller genre, and not wrongly. He has hands-on experience and has written on the banking sector earlier (although I haven't read any of them till now), and The Bankster conforms to all the banking and thriller standards in its story lineup.
The most likable fact of this novel is that all major characters are given their fair share of development and face value. Be it Vikram (Retail Head), Tanuja (HR head), Nikhil (cluster head), Anand (branch head), Indrani (CEO), Harshita and Zinaida (RMs), Raymond (Compliance head), and Karan Panjabi (ex-banker-cum-media person) among others. This thing is evenly visible from the book’s trailer on youtube easily.
Almost all characters get their due time to be established well within the story, most in the first half, step by step.
The story starts with a normal tell-tale of an international investment bank GB2’s Bandra branch in India and the daily worklife of its employees, RMs, HR, branch heads, cluster head, CEO, etc. It briefly and at a steady pace takes you explaining work culture in any such bank, the politics, minor and major money-launderings, mind games, relationships, etc. in the first half.
The turn in the story comes when in the author’s own words:
Bankers build their careers on trust, or so everyone thinks, till a series of murders threaten to destroy the reputation that the Greater Boston Global Bank (GB2) has built over the years. Who is behind these killings, and what is their motive? Is the banker at GB2 fast turning into a bankster? Or he was always one?
In addition to Banking scam coming up, two other minor stories go on being narrated side by side; one dealing with an international arms dealer, and the other one about being a nuclear reactor being commissioned in Devikulam, India. But all the stories begin to merge as the scam starts unravelling under the finance-detective eyes of Karan Panjabi, an ex-banker who works for a national daily now. He comes close to the case only when his best friend is murdered who was getting close to uncovering international money-laundering scam on the basis of fraud accounts getting set-up within GB2 branches.
The second half encompasses Karan’s efforts along with help of a few others in the bank, with only 36 hrs at their disposal, to uncover the grappling truth behind all these murders and the proper reason behind them. The script is very good and narration has imprints of an established writer. The author has done a commanding work from start till the end taking the story at a fine and steady pace, unfolding all events at seemingly right timings.
The reader will always keep wondering after all who is The Bankster! Is it Vikram or Nikhil or Anand or Zinaida or Tanuja or Indrani or Juliana or Jacqueline or Hemant or even Karan?! An intelligent work, if not masterpiece, of mystery webs and speculations (from reader's point of view).
And hey! what a big moment when he/she is brought open at the climax!!!
Balanced details of investment banking and other events at right pace
Balanced character development of most characters
Author’s successful intent on maintaining mystery at various turning points
Raunchiness not much overplayed
Few loosing ends of the story (like no further issue taken up on what happened to people who put up fraud accounts initially in GB2 which were later found a part of a global money-laundering scam)
Initial backgrounds of certain RMs who come tainted out of the story could have been provided just briefly somewhere (at the end) of the story, but not a big issue. Everything can’t get covered fully.
Well, nonetheless, likes are much heavier here than dislikes and other expectations. And the epilogue provides a fitting end to the novel. Read it for entertainment and thrilling 2nd half.
Overall, 4 out of 5 stars
Watch the video review here
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