Author: Ravi Subramanian
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Price: Rs 250
Rating: * * * * ½
By: Keyur Seta
A not-so-perfect romantic novel can manage to get some appreciation from the target audience if it has enough heart-touching or mushy moments. The same leeway is enjoyed by comic fiction books if there are a good number of rib-tickling incidents. However, whodunit thrillers don’t have this advantage for the simple reason that after building up a thrilling scenario, the killer moment at the end has to be up to the mark. In other words, the presence of some well written thrilling or intriguing moments won’t hold much value if the main suspense at the end turns out to be predictable or unconvincing.
Ravi Subramanian need not worry about this as he has used all the necessary elements needed in a thriller intelligently in The Bankster and presented a page-turner which is an absolute must-read. Good books satisfy the target audience while great books go beyond the target audience. The Bankster surely falls in the second category since it has the capacity to impress those who aren’t much into thriller novels.
The book presents three unconnected stories taking place in three different cities of the world: –
- Angola: A covert CIA agent travels to the dangerous interiors of Africa to exchange weapons of mass destruction for priceless diamonds. The deal goes through smoothly and the agent is now ready to go ahead with another such mission.
- Kerala: Krishna Menon has been protesting against the Trikakulam Nuclear Power Plant since a decade as he is deeply concerned about the safety of the people in his vicinity. The reason why Krishna is more emotionally involved in the protest is because of a promise he made to his dying son.
- Mumbai: It is a daily routine for the top level employees of the Greater Boston Global Bank (aka GB2) to indulge in cheap politics and manipulations to achieve selfish gains. All hell breaks loose when their employees are found dead one after the other under mysterious circumstances.
How these three utterly different incidents cross paths, forms the rest of the story.
Like every tantalizing thriller, The Bankster has a watertight story which is told in a manner that makes the reader very curious to read further. What makes it more intriguing is how Subramanian has managed to keep the stories unconnected till more than 80% of the book. And once they are connected, you get a satisfying kick as all pieces fall into place. He has delayed the turning points as much as possible which is a mark of excellence. The only kind of predictable part is that whenever a character goes into a discussion or does something which looks immaterial to the story, it ensures a thrilling twist. But that generates more excitement for you anxiously anticipate something once you figure out his writing style.
The politics in a banking organization and the day-to-day conversation between the characters, which forms the main part, appear truly real! The language used is rich but at the same time very simple which makes even the common man understand the proceedings easily. This is very unlike some writers who leave the readers confused on few occasions while flaunting their cool language skills.
One also can’t help but laud Subramanian’s remarkable knowledge on various aspects like police investigation, forensic (CCD bill incident), the area specific knowledge of different cities, modern technology (an almost technologically illiterate person thanks you for the iCloud explanation), politics and lastly, the banking process. The last one, along with the working of the corporate world, is made understandable to someone like me who has almost zero knowledge of both.
The story has a number of important characters and each is defined clearly and developed properly. It would have been better if their physical appearance and features were explained slightly which would have helped more in visualizing. Apart from this, the other possible negative factors are the length and an act committed by a main character in the end. However, these are just minor issues that won’t affect your overall satisfaction while savoring this unmissable book.