This post is not a travelogue but a book review of The Bankster by Ravi Subramainan who has made his name by writing gripping tales around underbelly of Global banking. He knows both banking and the craft of writing very well and when two of his top skills converge you get books like
- If God Was A Banker
- Devil In Pinstripes
- The Incredible Banker
- I bought the Monk’s Ferrari
I promise you this book will take you on a journey that will be remembered for a long time. Ravi has created a web complex enough to take you to an international jaunt starting from Angola to by lanes of Bandra crisscrossing Colaba only to fly you to scenic Vienna. Just when you are ready to predict the plot and say I got it… the author smiles and reminds you he is the one who is pulling the strings along with International players and not you dear reader. This is what gives you another twist in the tale and that’s what I like about these crime thrillers.
The plot unfolds slowly in Angola and three parallel tracks continue independently one in the murky world of Blood diamonds, rogue international arms deals and a suave sexy mini bondish secret agent( if he can be called that). I say mini because even though he comes across all things bond he is not half as good as bond and had to buy sex instead of offering it as a favor
The second tract is in the lush last surviving rain forest of Devikulam in Kerala where an idealistic resort owner is trying to stop a nuclear power plant by following Gandhian principles only to hand over his own strings to international puppeteer without realizing it.
The third one is where I felt a little less excited and that is the by lanes of Bandra in the branch of Greater Boston Global Bank or GB2. In Mumbai the action keeps on shuttling between the Bandra branch and the SoBo headquarters. In between a mandatory romp in the car is thrown and you wonder why this item number? Only to learn in the end this is how Ravi creates the ground for you to realize in the end who was fxxxing whom.
The role media plays is dexterously exposed how in an effort to gather eyeballs and breaking news half researched stories are played on national TV knowing very well that public has short memory. By the time people come back and question next sensation will take away their attention.
One of the things that I liked about this book is that Ravi creates a world of terror, murder and scum without firing a single bullet in the book. Dead bodies start appearing at regular interval in the book starting from an unknown teller to key players in the book who take the plot further but no violence is shown anywhere. The reader learns about deaths but is spared of the agony to see it. The only bullets that are fired are also not to kill but to…. Well read the book for that.
As the author rushes to close the book suddenly all the zigzaw in the puzzle start falling in place to the extent that seasoned scoundrels start making mistakes that you wonder what’s the hurry to close the book. Suddenly Karan the self appointed CID starts stumbling on the clues as effortlessly as kids playing hide and seek in a 2BHK apartment in Mumbai discover each other’s hiding place. That is where the story becomes a bit weak as you expect the detective that too an amateur one to struggle a bit before closing things. I guess Ravi realized that and so brings a sudden turn of events when we are ready identify the master mind.
Though in reality there is more than one master mind and it is difficult to say who is playing whom. Everybody is trying to win no matter what the cost and the means. The nitty-gritty of office politics of any organization unfolds and actually helps to take the plot further to connect the dots. Whether it is obsession of the men in branches with the swaying hips or the women wondering if they have still got it to not only grab the attention of the boss but also make the client sign on the dotted line while fixing their eyes on the open button of the tight top. Every body has set there own limits till which they are willing to play around and are willing to review the limits based on the rewards on offer.
In the end I would like to say it is a good gripping tale that I thoroughly enjoyed reading and I am sure you will too as long as you keep on ignoring some of the now well-known secrets of the banking world like selling wrong products to widows, as this is not the story of what you are selling to widows this is a story of how it is a connected world and you will never realize how the dots are connected. The banking world connects these dots from Cochin to Colaba to Vienna and people in positions of power break the very rules that they not only created but also are entrusted to be custodians of.
Some quick details
Price: INR 250 for paperback
Publisher: Rupa Publications
You can see more of Ravi by clicking his website here that will give links to his social networks