Not having read Ravi Subramanian’s previous financial crime thrillers, I was initially a bit skeptical about “The Bankster”. However, as I started leafing through the intricately authored pages of the book, it did give me a decently good feeling. After having received the book, the incredibly detailed cover page drew my attention. The author introduces three different sub plots to the reader in the initial few pages of the book, pulls up the strings to take his readers in an intricately tangled web of events and at the end of all it leaves you with a feeling it could have been much more. A plot with a huge potential but somewhere it left the reader wanting.
The book forays into an unprecedented path in Indian English literature – of financial crime, deceit, money laundering and terror funding. Ravi Subramanian has very intelligently dealt with the issues of protests of the nuclear power
plants in India, money laundering and terror funding. All three highly sensitive social issues – and these could have been dealt with much care and more of research. Considering the author’s banking background, none of the plots except Greater Boston Bank’s money laundering and the detailed description of the corporate manipulations and deceit had depth. I felt the other two sub plots – one of the nuclear power plant protests and the international funding issue was lackluster. There were too many loose ends to the book and the climax was written in a hurry and for the sake of keeping up with the twist-in-the-tale factor. The reason being – how can the people responsible for such heinous crimes surrender so meekly at the end of the book, is still a mystery to me. That could have been a story well told with fuller details and with a climax with a greater conviction. The book lacks a decent amount of research and the number crunching sessions should have been handled with much maturity. The subject that deals with such sensitive issues should come with a decent amount of background and strong characterization of the role players. Krishna Menon’s character which had withstood the test of time, and displays so much of vengeance and unfulfilled promises lacks that powerful thrust which could grip the readers on their tenterhooks. The only character which gives the book an edge is that of Vikram Bahl. With realistic description of situations and manipulation at its highest level, this character portrays and conveys the right mix of emotions to its readers, but again I was surprised that he doesn’t even have a role in the climax of the book – except for being a non-existent spectator to Karan Panjabi’s histrionics. There was no need to relate the covert CIA agent to the HR head –Tanuja. They could have two different souls at the opposite end of the world and still the author could have linked the money laundering to the international terror funding plots. It took me completely off the hook and left me with a strange feeling at the end of the book.
However, what I liked about the book is the author’s lucid style of writing and his interpretation of the issues and the events that have taken place throughout the whole story. The English was reader friendly and the keeps one entertained. This book is actually a page turner in disjoint sections where the authors writes about the Greater Boston Bank. The final climax is completely off track and fails to tie all the loose ends. In an attempt to persist with the twist at the end of the story the author has marred what could have an excellent and a very entertaining read.
You should read this book for its style of narration and lucidity of the language which speaks volumes about the author’s story telling prowess and capability to write effortless crime thrillers. And you shouldn’t read this for its lack of research and an almost dead climax, which might just kill your appetite for this otherwise clinical masterpiece form Ravi Subramanian. Overall its book with an unimaginable potential – unfulfilled.