by Radhika Kuldeep
I was quite excited to read the new book ‘The Bankster’ by Ravi Subramanian as I had not read any fiction for a long time. The fact that it is a crime novel based in India made it even more appealing. I havent read any other books by the author before.
The Bankster is about a CIA Agent conducting an arms deal in Israel, Africa etc. in exchange of blood diamonds, the Greater Boston Global Bank [GB2], and the locals in Kerala protesting against the Nuclear Power Plant. There is money laundering, bank staff being murdered in and out of India for being inquisitive and no one knows who is behind all of this. It is all solved by an ex employee who is currently training to be a crime investigator with one of the country’s top most newspaper.
The story and the initial chapters move quite slowly. The story shuttle between the three places of Mumbai, Kerala and Vienna and initially is rather confusing. But the pace quickens once you are through with one third of the book. The story has quite a few characters in it, some of which have appeared in the author’s previous book but I didn’t realize that till much later. Most of the main characters are well fleshed out. He has narrated the complexities of an international bank quite effortlessly and the politics that go hand in hand. While the main plot of the story appears to be money laundering, we later realize that it is just a front for something far more sinister. There are quite a few sub-plots woven into the story, for eg: the nuclear plant in Kerala, the ivory smuggling case, the affairs between senior staff of the bank, some of which seem unnecessary. But the story all comes together when the ex employee is sitting with his team piecing together clues [in a boardroom, in total filmy style]. While we understand how it is all connected, some parts seem a tad bit stretched . For Eg: an iPhone connects automatically to the cloud via wifi and uploads images [in Vienna] that were simultaneously downloaded on the iPad [in Mumbai] which is solid evidence against the murderer. This seems possible but slightly stretched. But overall, it is an enjoyable experience. The dramatic reveal of the Bankster, is almost out of a hollywood film and provides a gripping climax to the narrative.
One of my biggest grouse was about the language. The author has used Hinglish throughout the book. I quite understand that it is probably to appeal to the masses that speak similarly everyday. But as someone who has grown-up reading the classics of Tom Sawyer and Oliver Twist, it is a put-off. Also the way we read is never the way we speak and vice-versa.
Having said that, I would recommend this book to all those who like fiction and murder mysteries and want to read something by an Indian Author in that genre.