It’s very complex to write a novel with one main plot woven with many sub plots. Because of this very complexity there are chances of the writer going completely wrong. Despite a strong main story the novel can crumble if the sub plots are not in sync with the main one. Somehow, this is the case with Ravi Subramanian’s The Bankster which looks good in the beginning but gets too confusing trying to include or rather comment on too many issues.

Greater Boston Global Bank is a well known bank with high level of trust and ambitious employees. But the bank’s reputation is threatened  when a series of murders happen. A couple of employees are killed to hide a secret that could threaten the whole world. Karan Panjabi, a banker turned journalist steps in to investigate these murders and finds out that the scam is bigger than they thought.

The story begins with the trading of blood diamond in Angola and soon drifts away to banking in Mumbai. Nothing much happens even after 1/3rd of the book is over and the author tends to get too descriptive about things as small as functioning of an iPad. These unnecessary descriptions slow the pace of the story. Jumping in and out of the main plot also causes distraction and stops the flow. Too many characters and not even a single well defined one is another reason why the book fails to impress. In an attempt to tell too many stories the writer forgets that connecting the readers to characters is also an aspect of writing. A couple of key characters remain neglected and you cringe when they turn out to be really important in the end.

There is an effort to squeeze in issues like illegal trading of blood diamond, corruption in banking, money laundering, nuclear power and arms dealing. Out of all the author does maximum justice to banking since it’s his home turf.

The end is treated like those investigative TV series where the whole case is solved sitting in a room and talking on the phone. As far as the suspense is concerned it’s there and have been protected well and you really want to know what happens in the end only if too many stories don’t hinder the flow.

The Bankster is a mish-mash of many issues. I think it’s too early to call Ravi Subramanian ‘John Grisham of banking’.

Book: The Bankster
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Publisher: Rupa
Price: Rs 250
Pages: 358

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