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Review - Indian Fiction - THE BANKSTER by Ravi Subramanian

I've just found a new Indian author, new for me at least.  He's some storyteller I must say, he's definitely rivalling Jeffrey Archer in my affections.  So welcome to my life, Ravi Subramanian!  And thank you for the signed copy of your latest novel in return for an honest review.

Here in India, we accept that corruption is a part of the political system and the bureaucracy at least to some extent.  But in banking?  I hadn't even entertained the thought.  And not just in Indian banks, international banks!  So that's the premise of this novel, which is one heck of a read.  Yes, unputdownable and addictive are words which spring to mind.

Indian fiction in English is unique.  For one thing, different rules apply.  If the bank ran 'very efficiently', well that's because it happened in India, my friends.  'Very efficiently' is a phrase unique to Indian English and I really wouldn't have it any other way.  The dialogue fairly sparkles with 'Hinglish' phrases, replies like 'haan yaar' and the prose has that Indian flavour which those of us who live here will immediately indentify.   One beauty of a phrase I spotted was ,  'a cup of cutting chai'.  It hit the spot like nothing else and for an English speaker like me who lives in the Hindi belt, provided great reading entertainment. 

Like the storyteller that he is, Subramanian weaves a tapestry of various threads, one beginning in Angola, one in Kerala and one in Mumbai, the main one being Mumbai.  We don't actually get to link the three together until the final scenes close in.  The author will surprise you every so often, sometimes withholding key information in order to add impact to a scene.  The characters definitely come alive on the page and the reader engages with them as the story develops.  I didn't find it difficult to keep on reading although the three threads seemed quite separate.  Scheherazade like, he keeps you hanging on so you've got to keep coming back.  The closure is satisfying and makes you glad you read the novel through.

Anything negative to say?  Very little if at all.  Just one or two things maybe.  Although the dialogue flowed naturally for the most part, I detected a slightly stilted piece of dialogue a very odd time.  Like the time when Harshita Lele's husband tells her that she's still as lovely as she was when he married her seven years before.  Sweet.  But wouldn't you think she'd know how long she's been married?  Also, the bank in Mumbai thread switched main characters several times.  First the main character was Vikram.  Then it switched to Nikhil.  Then for a short while, Anand.  Then Raymond.  Then Karan.  It's like they were passing the baton from one to the other.  You engage with a character, then he's gone.  But it's a minor complaint really.  I'm not going to crib about it.

Indian popular fiction is coming of age.  So well done, Ravi Subramanian.  You've done a nice job here!

My sincere apologies to Ravi Subramanian and Blogadda for the late publication of this review.  I'm afraid I was carried away by Diwali madness and couldn't get into reading for a week or two.

This book is available in India where all good books are sold.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!


  1. As much as I regret having to say it, I will have nothing to do with Bookadda ever again.

  2. Bhaiyaaaa! Sighs in despair. Your enemby is BOOKADDA. This review is for BLOGADDA. A difference of three letters.

    May I kindly suggest you wear your chashmah next time you read my blog? :)

  3. Ravi Subramanian has got an expertise to connect to his readers, create a magnetic theme and get his readers absorbed deep into each page of his thriller. The Bankster is as absorbing as his earlier four thrillers. He drives his story quite exhaustively and beautifully with full command on the subject and clarity in concept. That probably has come due to Author's extensive experience in banking sector for years. It seems for all those years of his career in banking, he drank and ate all the core processes of banking so well and hence has been able to bring out such a fantastic piece of work.

    This is his first work that I have read and decided to review, such was the charismatic story of BANKSTER. Karan Panjabi, who enters into the story of The Bankster quite late but has been characterized in a very strong manner, probably is the replica of Ravi Subramanian himself in real life, so sharp and quick in resolving a series of murders mystery. Not all murders happen in same manner, neither happened in the same place of country. But there was a deep connect in all serial killings that happened in various countries and that is where the expertise of Karan Panjabi comes into picture who gets hardly 48 hours to resolve this case. Author takes you to various cities around the globe - Angola, Vienna, Mumbai and Devikulam to get you acquainted with various characters of the story and get you engaged in the plot well woven.

    Basically, the story is about a multinational bank that is doing quite well in terms of business in its various branches all across India after entering the country. Greater Boston Global Bank or GB2 is operative in all major cities of India and has its country headquarter in one of its branches in Mumbai. GB2 in quite professional in its approach and focuses on hiring best of the breed available in market. It boasts of best practices in HR, Operations, Marketing, Financing and Sales. Somehow among all good things there is a chain of wrong people who are spoiling the show by having connections with high level of international mafia/ gang and thus do not hesitate in getting down to any level of wrongdoing. These wrongdoing culprits are not only weakening the roots of GB2 bank but also getting involved into some extreme crimes.

    This interesting story hints on quite a few guys as culprits in the network but who turn out to be innocent and otherwise. Overall it is quite neatly woven and engrossing read that will keep you hooked throughout.


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