November 6, 2012 by Preeks
So finally, after much procrastination, I decided to give the Book Reviews Program a shot. And as luck would have it, I got lucky with a great book!
The Bankster, by Ravi Subramanian is an exciting read, to say the least. I must confess, I was slightly biased towards the author, having heard great reviews of If God Was a Banker, his first book. Here’s the deal. When you are dealing with a subject as complicated as Banking (atleast for me), you need to have a very careful approach. You need to make things sound simple so that I as a reader, get a grip on the story, but at the same time, not make it too simplistic to make me feel dumb and lacking in knowledge.
Ravi Subramanian passes this test with flying colors! Dealing with banking, frauds and the complexities of the financial world, he has created a wonderful script, which is easy to understand and at the same time technically perfect.
The Bankster is the story of the Greater Boston Global Bank (GB2) and a group of manipulators who take advantage of the loopholes in the system to create frauds of unimaginable magnitudes, involving cashiers, to higher managements, to arms dealers, diamond miners and NGOs.
Blending three parallel stories, Ravi creates an intricate web of characters and plots, and surprisingly, a climax which is quite impossible to guess. Through the story, he brings out several important aspects of the corporate banking world which is thinly veiled behind the glamorous lives of highly paid bankers. Nepotism, politics, favoritism fraudulent activities – these are not entirely unheard of, but when you put them all together, you get a great story line.
Another positive for the book has to be the greater message the author is trying to imply. By cleverly integrating the story with several current news affairs, he lets the reader imagine the worst of today’s situation. Ravi has a clear message – Nuclear powerplants and bank frauds are never reported together, but in the long run, they might have to be. With changing urban aspirations and greed, there is a rising need for corporate ethics and if we don’t highlight this now, it may be too late.
The negatives – a few grammatical mistakes here and there put me off slightly. The 3 parallel stories were not given equal attention. Hence, after a point, when the first story was re-introduced in the end, I was at a loss. The characterization of some characters such as Zinaida and Vikram was quite weak and clichéd.
But despite all this, my rating for this would be a healthy 4/5. The book is an exciting ride into the hidden realities of banking and promises a surprising climax, making the book well worth its buck!