Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Bankster by Ravi Subramanian

Title - The Bankster
Author - Ravi Subramanian
Publisher - Rupa Publications India Pvt. Ltd.
Pages - 364
Price - 250 INR
ISBN - 978-81-291-2048-9

This seemed more like a nefarious nexus between the banking official and a gangster with lies, deceit and treachery making you flip through the pages without boredom haggling your senses.

It all begins in Angola, and keeps shuttling in space between Kerala, Venice and Mumbai, sometimes making you wonder if its three stories or just one and the introduction of the protagonist after about 160 pages was later than anticipated, even though it was heroic. Karan's character was feebly identified and involved with the story and until he solves the mystery, I really never knew that he was the protagonist. Rather than telling the story through tens of characters, Karan's tale could have been told in details and the story developed around his character. And the villain could not be loathed at, considering the confusing characterization he was given.

Perhaps, this can make for a wonderful Bollywood script for sure for sometimes I thought, that the next minute will read into a song and dance and I'll see the characters dancing around in the rain. The plot is engaging and fast paced with the too many characters making you confused often, only if you don't read the book with a hawk's eye. The characterization is not as vividly described as the places. Often I felt that I was reading a travelogue instead of a financial crime thriller. But not for long!

A few elements of the book like crude diamonds and their usage as currency and the international funding of NGO's to limit our nuclear powers, and the underworld having a say despite the usage of fool proof cheques to how occasional bantering in office can suddenly crack open into solving a wobbling web of secrets to an old man's conviction to fight for the right that is a lesson for the youth, keep you hooked till the end. 

The language was easy but did stretch a lot at certain times with trivial grammatical glitches that has become a commonality with every second Indian author I suppose. The stereotyping of women as the kinds who would do anything to achieve success did not go down well with me. Maybe the author had his preconceived perceptions about successful women which he tried using here, with all the failure of course. 

Despite all the flaws, he will be an Indian author, I'll look forward to reading in the future if I am in the mood to unravel a maze of plots, even though would want him to characterize his suspects and leads more effectively in his next.

My rating 3/5, two points go for the flaws I saw and three points go in for not letting the suspense surrender anytime, in the scheme of things.

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