Just like how a rope takes form with several small threads binding together to make it strong, The Bankster by Ravi Subramanian combines several stories to form together a novel that while having its problems is certainly a standout among the brainless love story induced novels that are tumbling out these days.
Staring from the diamond mines in Angola, South Africa, The Bankster gives us a quick peek in what we are in for. As you turn the first few pages, you learn about a family based in Kerala who are harassed by the police into admitting guilt towards a crime they didn’t commit.
With its first chapter, the book introduces us to Vikram, Head of Retail Banking in Greater Bostan Global Bank or GB2 and shows us how a bank of international standards works. From the start we get to know, that Vikram is a womanizer and is a pro at office politics. Flirting with Tanuja, Head of the HR department in the bank, he gets several things and pulls strings to make employees within the bank dance on his terms.
The other aspect of the story relies upon Krishna Menon trying to address the concerns about the Trikakulam Nuclear Plant, where he feels the government has built something that is unsafe for everyone living within Kerala and the whole country in general. He does this because he lost his son in the terrible Chernobyl accident that happened in Russia. While this should make us care about Krishna Menon more, I didn’t immediately care about the characters. Explaining hurriedly in a few pages, we are thrown into situation where is approached by an NGO named CNRI (Conservation of Natural Resources through Innovative use of Technology). Teaming Together with Jaya, Head of CNRI, Menon kick-starts a massive protest setting the nation ablaze.
On the bank’s side of things, we see a battle between the RM’s and get to know that newcomer Zinaida Gomes is a hot-favourite among everyone as she is not only beautiful, but also very cunning and smart. This makes the veteran RM Harshitha jealous of her and she heads for mental breakdown as she obsesses over her losses turning into Zinaida’s profits. Harshita feeling overworked over things decides to takes a holiday and heads up to Vienna where we get the first irritating product placement in novel. Yes, you read that right; a product placement in a novel.
I don’t know whether it was intentional or part of the story, but I thoroughly hated that fact that the character of Harshitha went on and on and on about the free Wi-fi in Coffee Day in Vienna. I hated that fact in the story. Later on the Author explains about Apple iPad’s cloud technology too. That didn’t feel forced and seemed necessary for the story, but the free Wi-fi thing was irritating to read.
Anyway, both of these stories move at a steady pace introducing new characters and addressing their concerns. Seemingly unconnected, both stories have a massive impact on one another. As the novel moves from a simple bank story into a murder mystery and conspiracy of international proportions, we are introduced to the brain child who uncoils every major secret in the story, Mr Karan Panjabi.
Karan Panjabi learns various things and many shocking and dirty secrets tumble out. The climax of the story is good and throughout the novel I wasn’t bored, except those product placement pages where the author went on and on about the products rather than concentrating in the story.
I loved the research in the books and several other things that were related to banking. All were neatly explained and some of the facts actually surprised me. In that way the novel was enjoyable.
I give the novel a solid 3.5 stars and it deserves every star of I give. I want to give it a 4, but that Coffee Day free Wi-fi thing is the reason that snatches the half a star away from it. Pick it up if you are planning a long ride back to home in a train. You won’t be disappointed.
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