Naga Chokkanathan

My cousin works for a private bank, in a very senior position. He is a busy person, always talking to phone and has no time for anything else.

So, you can guess my surprise when I saw him enquiring me about a new book, a novel yet to be released. He wanted to know what is the best way to buy the book online, or offline, but he wanted to read it as soon as possible.

First, I thought he is joking. But he assured me that the book (titled “The Bankster”) is something he can’t afford to miss, because it talks about his profession, the banking field.

Oh Oh Oh! Here we go, yet another wannabe Arthur Hailey, using banks as a backdrop for a cheap thriller.

But my cousin assured me Ravi Subramanian is not writing about the banking field for novelty, he lived in this world for many years, and uses the same as the basis for his stories. He has already written few such novels and all of them are fantastic.

In spite of his assurances, I was still not sure if I should read this book, because I have no understanding of those crazy business terms. I can’t digest even the 150 letter alert SMSes about my mutual fund schemes, and I am yet to figure out how they calculate EMI for my home loan.

But my cousin, who is an expert in all these, told me that Ravi Subramanian takes extra care to make the book readable for everyone, not just for the banking professionals. That made me pick up this book for reading.

First of all, the cover page blurb (John Grisham of banking) is fully justified. Ravi Subramanian gives a sneak peak into the world of banking and carefully weaves a superb story around it. Every chapter is filled with so many details, which we were never aware of, Yet, he manages to squeeze all these into a writing style that is never boring.

Story is quite simple. A famous bank loses all its important employees one after the other. This can’t be a coincidence and they need to find the reason as quickly as possible, before everything collapses.

At this stage, a press reporter by name Karan Panjabi enters the scene. He understands the banking business and the racy world it can be. He decides to dig deep and solve this mystery. This is his story.

In a typical Dan Brown style, Karan has only few hours to crack the reason behind all these killings. This sets the pace and the story moves from South Africa, to Kerala, to Vienna, to Bandra and various other suburbs in Mumbai. Yet, it is very much an Indian story, which I could relate to (Unlike few recent paperbacks which follow a western style of story telling, where only the names are Indian!). As a result you can finish the whole book in one sitting, if not earlier!

Most of the banking terms and technicalities used in the novel are explained well, in a language anyone would understand. That makes me look for the other books for the same author. Hopefully I will become a banking expert by the time I finish all his Banking Novels!


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