Book Review - The Bankster

The praise by The Wall Street Journal on the cover of the book reads 'Meet the John Grisham of banking'. It does what it's put there for. It impresses. The back cover has this blurb,

--- Bankers build their careers on trust, or so everyone thinks, till a series of murders threaten to 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 was he always was?

When Karan Panjabi, press reporter and ex-banker, digs deeper, he realizes that he has stumbled upon a global conspiracy with far-reaching ramifications - a secret that could not only destroy the bank, but also cast a shadow on the entire nation.
With only thirty-six hours left at his disposal, he must fight the clock and trust no one if he is to stay alive and uncover the truth. ---

The Bankster 
By Ravi Subramanian
358 pp  |  Rupa Publications
$21.75  | Rs250  

Nikhil, a manager at GB2 arrives in Mumbai from Pune when he is given the post of a cluster manager there. He has the responsibility of upping his cluster's, and more so his branch's stats when he takes up the job. And soon, his branch does start to do good following certain developments that take place in the head office. 

But when the compliance team finds something fishy going on in the branch and when Raymond, head of compliance for retail, starts to ask uneasy questions is when the small deceits and cheats that bankers usually indulge in conning their customers to reach targets and rise in listings, turns into a deep and ugly game of lies, treachery and murders. A game where some players are really big and more powerful than anybody could have ever thought.

Meanwhile, Krishna, an elderly man in Devikulum, Kerala, tries to bring up the issue of safety of the newly commissioned power plant near his town before the government and how it could affect the lives of thousands if ever a disaster struck it.
But just when he thinks he may actually have a success in his mission, he realises that he's caught up in a big and nasty web of deciet where all his efforts for years could go to waste.

The first thing I'd like to say about the book is that it's highly engrossing. It starts at a modest pace but by the time you finish one third of it, it becomes unputdownable. Mainly due to the developments around the bank and it's members, which form most of the main characters of the book. The descriptions that Subramanian weaves through their behaviours and the conversations they have, consequently builds up the suspense and makes the reader almost fly through the book.

For most part of it, the book is sharp and keeps you hooked, but there are some portions which you might feel, could have been done away with. For instance, there is a scene where a character describes at length how Apple's iCloud feature works to somebody, and it's apparent that it's for the reader's knowledge, but given the targeted group of readers, I think it was not that necessary, at least not at length. But anyway, such parts are few and doesn't disrupt the flow too much.

And like any other crime suspense reader, I had some suspects as the main antagonist, which you would have too and I think there's a chance you just might get lucky. But, there's another surprise waiting at the very end of it and I am sure it's something you would never have guessed. ;)

only down point for me in The Bankster is that it doesn't have a different, out of the normal kind of story. Something that could be called really good fiction, and that may be because it takes it's cues heavily from a reality that most people are aware of. But that should not be a deterrent for anybody who likes crime thrillers because that is anyway not the USP of the book. The Bankster, as I said before, scores on the narrative and it's interesting characters.

I've rated the book 3.5/5, and I recommend it, if you are a thriller, crime fiction reader or if you are interested in banking and stuff related to it. And it doesn't necessarily have to be boring if it's related to banking, so relax, you just might love it more than I did. 

Disclaimer: The links to the online shopping stores in the review are for quoting purposes only and do not mean that they offer the best price. Nor do they imply any sort of recommendation from me.

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  1. Great review Usama! I'm not much into banking and stuff, but I think I can read a nice crime thriller with any backdrop :P

    I had some doubts for this book, your review cleared them up! Very nicely written :)

    1. Thanks Ashna. It's a nice read, very good at some points. :D

      P.S: Any tips/pointers for forthcoming reviews??

  2. Nice review...and about that climax... oh yes! I had almost freaked out on reading that... that was not even the last thing on my mind!!


    1. Yes, that's what my reaction was. I think it wouldn't cross anybody's mind to make any guesses there. ;)

      Thanks for the comment Me :)


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