Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thrills and Chills @ THE BANKSTER - A Book Review

I saw an online trailer of 'THE BANKSTER' sometime back and was instantly hooked. The short video promised a lot of high flying action across a global platform in the background of a banking arena. What more to woo a thriller junkie like me? A few searches in the net about the author and I very much looked forward to grab a copy of his writings. When Blogadda Team contacted me for the review, I was elated. You can judge how excited I was about this book by knowing that I finished reading the book within a day and this while juggling 2 hyper kids. 

The first thing that got my attention was the gun toting, briefcase holding and shades sporting rogue looking guy on the cover. The slick cover design of the book thus hinted at the mysteries to unfold. The story begins with a covert exchange operation in Angola. Weapons for Blood Diamonds by a CIA agent Joseph Braganza. Do I have your attention now? It switches effortlessly to happenings in Greater Boston Global Bank (GB2) in Mumbai. A global conspiracy theory is at the helm with this bank as a backdrop for all the nefarious activities and corporate connivance. Money laundering, scams and cover-up is expertly delved into and the best part is that it is simplified for the readers to understand. A key character is Vikram Behl who heads the retail banking exploiting the resources at his disposal to the core. Various characters like Tanuja, Zinaida and Nikhil are shown as pawns in his game of chess. The murder of a few bank employees ignites the doubt of some wrong doing and in jumps the protagonist Karan Panjabi. This flamboyant press reporter who had earlier worked with GB2, does his bit of stylish sleuthing to bring the perpetrators to justice is winsome.   

In the meanwhile a third story of a common man fighting for a just cause is juxtaposed to the Angola & Mumbai plots. The Keralite is on a mission to stop the government from commissioning a nuclear plant in Trikakulam,Kerala. Does it ring a bell? Yup, the connection to kudankulam project cannot be missed. This man, Menon, befriends Jayakumar and kindles a fiery friendship that results in them uniting to bring his cause to a justifiable end. How he is "used", in the broader scope of things and how he comes out of the mess was heart tugging.

How these stories connect with each other in the end makes it for a thrilling finish. It was nail biting to read who is behind the entire conspiracy. 

Verdict (Yays & Nays):-

Yay to
  • This book is a fine read because Ravi a banker himself has taken utmost care to simplify all the banking mumbo jumbo for the  layman reader. He has deftly explored  the nuances of banking politics as well as the behind the scene drama. The language is simple and the narration is lucid. The various characters are well etched and explores in depth their behaviour.
  • A very unusual aspect of the plot was Cafe Coffee Day. A lot can happen over coffee and the motto of this joint is aptly used in the story. And yes, this Bengaluru based cafe has an outlet in Vienna.
  • A very nice closing given in the end with most loose knots tied up.

Nay to
  • How often does it happen that a media investigative reporter is called in to connect the dots. It was amusing that the Head of the Bank, Indrani reposes complete faith in Karan to unravel the mystery. And the reporter does that within 48 hours by sitting in the board room of the bank is another amusing fact. Beats Sherlock Holmes. Also his entry is quite later in the story. If I can use a filmi word to describe it, the hero glides in after the intermission when the story is almost 50 % done. 
  • There is a liberal use of hinglish words that would connect well with the Indian readers.  These words in the interaction between the characters must however be a dampener to the global audience. 
  • Nothing is mentioned about Joseph Braganza who is one of the key characters of the plot.
  • It sounds abrupt as to why the Vienna Police decide to take action by themselves instead of involving Interpol or the Israeli Security establishment.
Final Word :-

A gripping financial thriller with an intriguing plot and well timed thrills. Still some way to go before Ravi truly becomes "The John Grisham of Banking'

Author    :   Ravi Subramanian
ISBN      :  9788129120489
Price       :  INR 250/-
Publisher :  Rupa Publications
Category  : Fiction 
Recommendation : Thumbs Up !

Thankyou Blogadda for the autographed book. Also Check Ravi's presence at Facebook Twitter and his website too !
This review is a part of the Book Review by Bloggers at Blogadda. Participate now to get free books!


  1. Agree with the Yays! As for Nays... agree on that too... Karan Punjabi is the lead character in Ravi's other novel The Incredible Banker, so may be that's why not much is shared about him in the initial chapters. Agree, solving the whole thing in 48 hrs from a board room is way too much!
    Wonderful review, Priya!

    1. thanks shilpa and yes I did find out that Karan was the protagonist in The Incredible Banker from Flipkart :) Hugs

  2. Dear Priya,

    My name is Rishi Vohra and I am the author of a debut fiction, 'Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai,' recently released in bookstores. For more information on the book, please visit

    I was wondering if you would be interested in reviewing the book on your blog.

    Thank you for your time and consideration. You can contact me back through my website.

    Warm regards,


    1. Hey Rishi,

      Looking forward to read &review the book :)