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The Bankster- Ravi Subramaniam

I got the book this afternoon at 1:00pm, and I'm writing the review at 10:00 pm. Thank you Blogadda for my free author signed book to review!

 That can only mean 2 things

1. This book was un-put-downable!
2. Was a book that took about 6 hours in total to read, with 350 odd pages to read, so if you have long train journey, this is the book that will give you company!

This is the first Ravi Subramaniam book that I've read, and I must say, I'd certainly back him up as an author that's here to stay. In his latest thriller, Subramaniam writes about the following themes- the banking culture within globalised mega corporate subculture, international affairs, money laundering- the whole deal, placement, layering and integration. All of the themes above are very contemporary and urban and in addition to that, he certainly manages to spice up the other wise potentially boring corporate world.

The book starts off with three seemingly unrelated stories, brought forward by chapters that arrive at rapid sucession. Individually the chapters are constructed with dialogue but also, as the story progresses, massive soliloques that at times, can get monotonous. We have the story of the man with a scar, up to no good. A well natured family caught in tragedy and trouble. And the story of a corporate cunning exposed within dialogue of a seemingly lovely friendship, bursting at the seems with all that is wrong with wolves at work- jealousy, blantant disregard for maritial vows, manipulation etc... Yes, all this within the first 100 pages of the book.

Following that, the author spends some time building story line that largely focuses on three key bank employees, in different departments. Subramaniam also uses recent events in the world (Japanese Earthquake- 20110 to increase audience relatability that places context to the character's situations. The strappingly beautiful Zinaida, fading star Harshita and focused compliance officer Raymond. These characters, with the help of the supporting cast, get you slowly but surely emotionally invested in the story. So that when tragic events come to pass these characters, you're as determined as Times of India reporter Karan Panjabi to solve the mystery of their deaths. 

And this is where the book is slightly flawed. Team Karan is composed of the CEO (Indira), Secretary (Jacks), Girlfriend (Kavya) and IT fella from the fraud team of the bank (Hemant). At their entry into the story, they work undeterred to solving the crime, which they do, surprisingly with no tragedy...except ofcourse the tragedy of the discovery of those responsible behind the two murders.

I found that hard to believe, especially when we're talking CIA, International conspiracy and global co-operation... It would have been good of Subramaniam to subject Team Karan to some aspect of the fate the befell those whose murders were being investigated. In addition to this, there's this clinically clean cut seperation of duty between the characters in Team Karan.. which at times, makes our main hero (Karan) seem larger than life, while the rest of his team seems surprisingly thoughtless in the process of solving the team.

As an example, Jack's role seems to be restricted to fetching Team Karan photocopies and dinnner in a timely manner, while the girlfried provides Karan emotional support and the reader some couple banter to lighten the series of discoveries that are made in the last 10 or so chapters of the book. While it doesn't necessarily fail the book, it does increase the predictability factor in what's meant to be a suspence thriller.

Right at the end of the book, the loose threads of stories are tied together in a one impressively twisted story, and Subramaniam doesn't spare the reader an iota of sympathy, as he drops his last bomb in the last chapter, leaving us with answers to any other characters in the epilogue.

Overall this was a book that I would rate a fine 7 on a scale of 10.
Personally this is the first Indian written thriller that I have read, and boy, Subramani's book, retailing at Rs 250 is worth every rupee you spend on it. I actually can't wait to read his other books as well!

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at  


You were right. Our reviews are quite similar, only yours is more critical and intelligible. Well done, girl. Enjoyed reading it. :-)

Wow.. thanks for a wonderfully balanced review. Am glad you liked THE BANKSTER. The first review I read on Diwali was yours and i instantaneously knew that this will be one of my best diwalis ever. Thanks .. and wish you a very happy diwali.
Jack said…

You have enticed me to read this book by your balanced review. Let me see when I can lay my hands on this.

Take care
Saro said…
Thank you Abhudaya! And Ravi, you wrote the book, so the credit belongs to you!

Saro said…
Thank you Abhudaya! And Ravi, you wrote the book, so the credit belongs to you!

Have tried to address a few of the issues raised by you in my next book..BANKERUPT.... hope you too feel the same. :) cheers .ravi

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