The coinage of the title ‘Bankster’ is very intriguing and as you read the book you realise why the book is titled so.
This is the first time that I have read Ravi Subramanian, though he is said to be a bestselling author, and was not disappointed. His indepth knowledge of the banking industry and its murky dealings comes from being a career banker and a financial services professional. The Wall street Journal has labeled him the John Grisham of Banking! He has authored four books before this one and has a formidable reputation. All his books are related to Finance. His first book was ‘If God was a Banker’ followed by ‘Devil in Pinstripes’, ‘The Incredible Banker’, ‘I Bought the Monk’s Ferrari’ and finally ‘The Bankster’.
The Bankster as the title suggests is about the nexus between a Banker and a gangster. It weaves an intricate web of power, politics, underworld and the money laundering done with the active involvement of bankers, on an international scale.
The book starts very well in Angola and then shuttles between Kerala, Mumbai and Venice. The plot is taut and the characterisation is well thought out. Somehow towards the end, the writing gets melodramatic and feels like one is watching a Hindi potboiler. There were times when I expected the characters to burst out into a song! But not for long. The author quickly pulls back the reins, takes control, and ends in James Bond style! A winner!
I loved the fact that ninety five percent or more of the book is based in India and Indian characters talking in a language that Indians can identify with. The Indian ethos is present throughout the book. This is a book with a plot that all Indians will be able to identify with and enjoy, specially the parody about Arnab Goswami – the news anchor of Times Now! Loved that bit! Then the so called NGOs which are funded by obscure foreign organisations which are facades for money laundering.
It is a revelation of how Bankers today will not stop at anything for rising up the financial ladder. Also how easily they can be swayed by instant riches at the cost of ethical banking.
Ravi Subramanian takes us through a slew of events to show us how uncut diamonds are used as currency for activating coups in Angola to funding Indian NGOs by Western countries to ensure India does not become a nuclear power. All done with the active involvement of the Bankers who ultimately turn Banksters. It is kind of scary that despite the innumerable and seemingly fool proof checks, the murky underworld has its way!
It is a must read and the writing is so reader friendly that it is almost an unputdownable book! The chapters are so beautifully spaced out that I found it difficult to take a break between chapters too!
So guys get off that couch and go get that book and have fun! You will not regret it!
To know more about Ravi Subramanian and his work visit his