What would you call a thriller that has a story woven around blood diamonds, protests against a nuclear power plant, money laundering and million dollar armament deal? Ravi Subramanian calls it – The Bankster . This book is the fifth from the author of the best seller – The Incredible Banker.
On reading the first few chapters of the book,it gives an illusion of 3 separate stories.As the story progresses, all three are found to be inter linked.
The prologue starts in Angola,South Africa in the beginning of the 21st century, with Mr. Joseph Bazinga , an undercover CIA officer making a deal for armaments and blood diamonds worth millions of Dollars.
Then in 1977 in the interior of Kerala,a couple- Krishna and Sulochana Menon, own and rent a resort that is fairly popular . They also own 4 captive elephants that are the star attraction in the resort. Years later, Krishna vows to stop the nuclear power plant in Devikulam from being commissioned.
The third parallel takes place in Mumbai in 2011 at the Greater Boston Global Bank[GB2] and this is where most of the story revolves around.
Though these three stories seem disjointed, the author weaves a story in such a thrilling fashion that it is amazing to see how well they all are connected to each other.
The key players in this thriller are Vikram Bahl – Head of the Retail banking of GB2, Tanuja from the HR , Zainada, the sexy Relationship Manager, Karan Punjabi, the investigator. Outside the GB2 are Krishna Menon and Jayakumar.
The striking similarity of the nuclear power plant protest at Kudankulam can be identified easily.While Krishna fight to stop the power plant from being commissioned because of his promise to his son who dies a horrific death in the Chernobyl incidence and also to protect the lives of thousands of innocent people living around that area, Jayakumar’s motives are not as clean his Krishnas.
The happening within the GB2 bank and the opening of a number of binami accounts and withdrawal of cores of rupees in cash also seem to be disconnected until Karan Punjabi walk is in to investigate.He is a former employee of GB2 and currently works for newsprints and is trained as an investigator.
GB2’s employees die in a mysterious way that looks like an accident and no one looks any further. The murder of GB2 employee Harshita and her husband in Vienna provide the key clues to Karan for solving the mysteries that surround the various activities .
Who is responsible for the murders, what is Zainada’s role in the plot, is Vikram double crossing Tanuja or is it the other way round, Why and how is Jayakumar funding the anti nuclear protests in Trikakulam ,what is the relationship between some of the key players, is climax of the story….
What I liked about this book is that the way the investigator solves the mystery by explaining the various facts and also the author has explained the banking terms in a simple way so that any one can understand it perfectly.
The plot is great in the sense that there is no lull in the story line.Even for a second you are not stranded in between wondering what is going on.The author keeps you speculating who the master mind behind the money laundering / murders and arms deal is! The double crossings in the story is hard to guess.
On the negative side,the usage of Hindi words in between when the characters converse. It would have been nice if English was used without interspersing Hindi which will be relevant for international readers to enjoy this book.
Also I wonder how the investigator proceeds with unraveling the mystery by sitting in the board room and operating through phone calls.
The role of the key players are crafted well but at some places the seemingly unimportant ones do have a major role in the plot. Well, when there are a lot of good things, these minor points can be forgotten.
I will happily give this book a rating of 4/5.This book is one that you cannot put down till you have read the last page. It will keep you on the edge and you are sure to be entertained by this thriller.
If you still have not read it, I recommend that you grab your copy and enjoy the ‘nail biting’ experience.
Book – The Bankster
Author – Ravi Subramanian
Publisher – Rupa Publications India Pvt Ltd
No. of Pages – 358
Price – INR 250