Posted in Books

Book Review: The Bankster, by Ravi Subramanian

Impressions off the back of the book:
The synopsis promises a fast paced thriller. A series of murders threatening to ruin the reputation built over the years by a global bank, the investigation to get to the bottom of the questions, a whodunit mystery thriller that would make interesting reading. The main character would be the ex-banker turned press reporter who has thirty six hours to save the reputation of the bank he once worked for and also save the nation, trusting no one in order to stay alive. The words “gripping thriller” gives me expectations from the book and its plot.

My thoughts on the book:
There is something to thrillers that intrigues me, makes me grab for it to read it quickly before I suffocate from the curiosity to know what happens next, makes me not want to put it down before I can finish it and makes me go “whoa” at the end. There are many authors who have that zing factor. Matthew Reilly, Lee Child and John Grisham are some of the best and among my favorites. Speaking of Grisham, when I read the tagline, “Meet the John Grisham of banking” on the cover of a book, I was hooked. The author was new to me, and I hadn’t any idea he had written four other books before this one till I read it inside the book. The tagline raised the expectations I had of the book, and yes, the pace, the plot, the setting and the characters of the book all worked quite well to leave me quite satisfied that it was well worth the read. As for the tagline, I’ll not comment on it till I have read his other works.

The Bankster (yes, I know the name says a lot about the book, and the action really does justify it) is the fifth novel authored by IIM Bangalore alumnus Ravi Subramanian. The story is woven around locations in India, Angola and Switzerland, and with each of the locations being mixed in narration rather than in parts. The story initially revolves around the corporate life of the bankers at Greater Boston Global Bank (GB2) and captures brilliantly the power game that one can see in corporate life. The cunning nature of senior level officers to get what they want and yet leave the middle level officials in no position to complain is well brought out. Also well thought is the dirty politics, illustrated by the tricking of a humble simple man by a politician. The prologue gives a sense of one man versus the politicians but it goes on to more serious issues, like the commissioning of a power plant that threatens the neighborhood he’s staying in, his actions against that and how he tries to get both money and power on his side. This smaller plot, along with one from Angola, is interwoven into the life of the bankers, the power games and the favoritisms, the affairs and the deceits. The page turns without thought, curiosity getting the better of me, but one doesn’t get the chills of the first murder until a little way into the story, which is okay because the writing between lets the plot sink in, making it more effective. When the murders begin to mount, the question of “whodunit” becomes even more prominent.

From the first impressions off the back, it lets down expectations a little. A plot felt to be in a thirty-six hour time frame actually doesn’t materialize till after half the book is done, even though the book retains the intrigue factor till then, the detective’s request to work with his old flame quite unnecessary to add to the gripping plot takes away a little, but nothing too big. The epilogue actually does tie up the story pretty well, answering the parts still left open, though the detective’s decision to return to banking is something I am still unsure of, and think could have been avoided.

All in all, The Bankster mostly delivers on the pace and unpredictability that a thriller needs, and keeps the reader interested. It packs a punch. An excellent read…

A rating of 8/10
A rating of 8/10

Book title: The Bankster
Book author: Ravi Subramanian
Book genre: Thriller fiction
Book price: Rs. 250
Publishers: Rupa Publication House
ISBN: 9788129120489

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced. This is not a paid review.

Also for the Indian Quills Reading Challenge at Tales Pensieve.

(’12, Nov 05)


Poetry and writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Bankster, by Ravi Subramanian

  1. This was my first banking thriller, Leo. I have not read John Grisham as of now. So, this book being my first take on banking thriller, I liked it. The plot was not as tight as it should have been to justify the words ‘gripping thriller’. However, I must say it’s a nice read, isn’t it?

    1. Yes, Diwakar. A nice read, and a good plot too. Maybe not tight, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. Grisham is a whole other level. I’ve only read one or maybe two of his, but I don’t like comparing anyways.

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