Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Review - The Bankster - Ravi Subramanian

Book: The Bankster
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Price: Rs.168 @33% Discount at Flipkart
Genre: Thriller
No. of Pages: ~350 

I have to start by saying that this is the first time I have read Ravi Subramanian. I also have to confess that I have zero knowledge in the areas of banking and finance – despite a thousand people trying their best to explain things to me. So you will be surprised when I say that I loved The Bankster.

Synopsis: (No Spoilers!)
The author would like to say that there are 3 stories intertwined with each other in The Bankster, but actually it is just one – the one that happens at GB2 bank. The other stories that are happening at Angola, Kerala, and Vienna are all merely a part of this story.

The Bankster deals with the life and story of banking employees in GB2 bank and all the dirty stuff that happens in the background (like it does in any other organization). There are a few moderately good guys, the bad guys, and the really bad guys.

Now, if you really think that I don’t sound very happy with the book – that is not true – I am merely trying to avoid any spoilers and you should read this book to actually enjoy it.

The Author:

As I picked up the book and looked at the cover, it said the Wall Street Journal called him the John Grisham of Banking. I said to myself – “That is a pretty bold claim”. But trust me, after I have read through the book, I think that he definitely is the John Grisham of banking and the book kept reminding me of The Firm

His style of writing is good and he has woven the stories together well. His language is perfect for the average Indian and I found it nice that he has used Hindi phrases and words in dialogues 
 seems realistic.

Ravi has a website but it seems quite neglected and he seems to have shifted to his FB Page to reach out to his fans better (surprisingly, even the QR code behind the book points to here). However, I would have really loved it if the website was maintained properly too.

What could have been Better:
The hero was not as properly introduced as the villains were. I had no idea who the hero was until the very end when he started solving the case. And, the hero appears quite superhuman as he solves the mystery in a few days. Felt like the editor told the author, “You can’t have such a big book, make it short!” and then the author just went and condensed the last 100 pages into 50 pages. Apart from this, I could not find any major issues with the book (and I was looking to find something) – Cheers to Ravi for that. 

Who Will Like It:
The Short Version – John Grisham fans will love it. 
The Long Version – The Bankster is a really nice book – has everything to make it a page-turner and has captured modern India quite nicely and convincingly. Not only has he put his experience in the domain to good use, but also has done enough research on various other areas to make it complete. What I loved about it is that the author’s knowledge is not limited to banking, but it also appears like he has traveled a lot and does read the newspaper :)

Who Will NOT Like it:
I can't think of anyone who would not really enjoy it. I mean, anyone who likes good thrillers will love it. Like I said, I hate banking and finance and I understand nothing of it – yet I was pretty comfortable throughout the book as the author has explained most things that appear even a wee bit too technical. 

My Rating: 

This is a 3 out of 5: 

If you thought 3 is too high - I rated it 3 because it was a pleasant surprise. I had expected nothing when I picked up this book to read and that actually worked for me. I enjoyed the really complicated story and also learned a few things on the way.

If you thought 3 is too low – Well, it is simply not a 4 or a 5. The language is simple and the story borders on convincing. The end was a little too rushed. It really is a 3 – nothing more, nothing less.

The story is fast-paced and interesting, giving a fresh new look at our banking system. The characters seem real enough – except for the one in Angola (seems a bit too Hollywoody). The language is simple enough and yet catchy. Good research has gone into it. I am really not sure why people have a problem with Hindi being used in conversations in the book – firstly, that is how the current Indian generation speaks (70% English, 30% Hindi) and secondly, a lot of authors like Coelho, Archer, and Sheldon have always used traces of Italian or Spanish in their books – so why not Hindi? 

Like I said at the start, I loved the book for what it is – A simple thriller that takes you through the lives of bankers and the banking system that has a good story to back it up and a great ending. So assume nothing - Just pick up the book and give it a shot - I am pretty sure you will not be disappointed!

Happy Reading!

This book was reviewed as a part of BlogAdda's Book Review Program.
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