Book Review : The Bankster

Publisher Rupa Publications India
Publication Year 2012
ISBN-13 9788129120489
ISBN-10 8129120488
Language English
Binding Paperback
Number of Pages 364 Page

Source : Flipkart


I have reviewed 5 books from Blogadda and this is the 6th in the Blogadda Book Reviews series. I got this copy through a tweet asking if readers wanted an instant copy of ‘The Bankster’ for review. And believe me it was instant! I got it within a week of applying.

I picked this book randomly as this was a genre I had not read from an Indian author. It differed from the books from Blogadda I read earlier – a drama (All and nothing), Chanakya’s chant (Political/Historical fiction), Mafia Queens (crime documentary), The Wednesday Soul (Comedy), You can sell (Self-help). This one was a fictional thriller written by an IIM alumnus. Also the name Ravi Subramaniam rang a bell, which turned out to be a mix-up with Ravi Venu.

One fine day, after Diwali, I read the book and believe me, I kept running back to finish it every now and then.


  1. You like CID and CSI alike.
  2. You are skeptical of Indian authors and want a book that challenges your brain.
  3. You want to read a book that when translated to movies would be worthy of a watch. (picture Angels and Demons)
  4. You are into Apple products 😛
  5. Because I say it is worth a read! *ducks n runs*


At 364 pages, the Bankster makes a delightfully long and fast paced read. I would advise skipping the blurb on the back to make it more interesting while figuring out the mystery. Our generation has grown on the staple diet of shows like Lie to Me, Bones, Castle, the Mentalist which figure prominent cop/investigator duos. The book has one of the Indianized versions of them. There is a certain kind of believability in the story which is very essential to a very elaborate and high profile thriller.

As far as I know, the situations and scenes are original in context and provide a novelty to the ‘whodunnit’ angle. The book is far more than a murder mystery or a thriller. It makes one sit back and think of the dark intricasies of the wheelings and dealings that go on in the banking and political sector.


The plot is story driven. A welcome deviation from the books I have read recently. There are 3 parallel tracks and the convergence is well depicted in the end. The story starts in Africa, the scenes very reminiscent of Blood Diamond and Casino Royale – still original in writing. The main chunk of the plot takes place in amchi Mumbai – with lots of stuff that every Mumbaite will enjoy and relate to. A parallel track runs in South India where a nuclear power project is being thought of. Money scam appears to be the main theme of the book when the reader suddenly finds out that it is more than just a Hawala scam.

At certain points, the story seems to switch tracks abruptly and start with one of the 3 parallel tracks. In that case I did what I always do – read the continuation chapter first 😛


There are many characters and each well etched in the whole story. One keeps flitting from a character to another trying to put him/her in the cross-hairs – even I did the same. And just when I thought I had the book figured out, there was a sharp twist. ( IIM people do have a devious brain, don’t they? Kidding :P) Mumbai police has been given its due credit and I loved the fact that the PSI in charge was a sincere young officer. The FBI people were true to their stereotype. There is one more international police squad in picture – again an intriguing read. The characters in the banking sector Vikram, Indrani, Raymond (I could almost picture this portly fellow), Harshita  and others could be found anywhere around you.  The characters from the nuclear power plant can be found in any agitation/movement be it the Lokpal, Narmada Dam or our very own nuclear power project coming up in Jaitapur. (On a side note, I hate the this track because I wanted to base my novel on the Jaitapur project. Anyhow, if I do write it – please note that I really had the idea in mind before I read The Bankster 😛 )


I liked the fact that there are cool gadgets (read iPads and iPhones) at play – that way I could flaunt my relevance to the smartphone industry. Again, I really appreciate the last twist which makes the book a very worthwhile read – because I had figured out rest of the plot almost in the middle of the book.


The book could have been a little tightly edited and carefully proofread. I did not like the fact that Kaavya, the lady from the amateur investigator duo – did not have much to do and was reduced to a mere showpiece. On the whole, I did find all the female characters a bit slow in grasping the situation. Anyway, since I do not consider myself a feminist, I would like to appreciate the well written book and not focus on the need for gender equality.


In a nutshell, pick up the book anytime during transit and enjoy a wonderful read. Coming from an Indian author utilizing everyday settings from Mumbai for a global thriller, this one deserves a read. Skip the Rowdy Rathores and Salman movies for once and try a desi thriller book instead!

Reviewer’s rating   3.5/5

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