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The Bankster

The Bankster

Product Specifications
Language English
Binding Paperback
Publisher Rupa & Co
Bestselling author Ravi Subramanian, a master storyteller of financial crime and winner of the Golden Quill Readers Choice Award, returns with his most gripping thriller yet.Bankers build their careers on trust, or so everyone thinks, till a series of murders threaten to destroy the reputation that the Greater Boston Global Bank (GB2) has built over the years. Who is behind these killings, and what is their motive? When Karan Panjabi, press reporter and ex-banker, digs deeper, he realizes that he has stumbled upon a global conspiracy with far reaching ramifications a secret that could not only destroy the bank but also cast a shadow on the entire nation. With only thirty-six hours at his disposal, he must fight the clock and trust no one if he is to stay alive and uncover the truth.About the AuthorRavi Subramanian an alumnus of IIM Bangalore, has spent two decades working his way up the ladder of power in the amazingly exciting and adrenaline-pumping world of global banks in India. It ... See more
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Customer Reviews on The Bankster

  1. 5 star (43)
  2. 4 star (49)
  3. 3 star (21)
  4. 2 star (3)
  5. 1 star (1)
Overall Rating 4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Reviews
  1. 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
     Good but not great. Could potentially become a movie. 15 January, 2013 On
    I had Ravi Subramanian on my list of to-read authors since a long time but never quite picked them up thinking they would be full of banking and financial jargon and hence boring. The Bankster’s cover looked like the ‘Dark Knight Rises’ poster from a distance that made me read it.

    Thankfully, this novel does not drown you in an ocean of banking industry jargon and it was indeed a good read - encourages me to pick up his other novels.

    The novel starts out with a bang with multiple interesting threads … CIA, arms pilferage to terrorists, blood diamonds and then a parallel thread of an old couple in kerala is caught up in the vicious trap of the local police and their son goes through the pain of seeing his father being humiliated and then moving away from the country where a couple of years later, he is a victim of a nuclear disaster.

    After this 'start-with-a-bang', the story sort of fizzles out … only to catch up speed and pace after half the novel is over.

    The story after the initial bang veers to a bank and its life with too many small and unimportant events and details. It began to get boring and almost at a point where I was thinking of giving up … around Halfway through the novel; murders begin to happen (taken as accidents initially) and the story gets exciting with suspense building up. The climax was good and interesting.

    I was expecting a 'fast paced eventful' story and was disappointed to some extent. The story converges in the end and all the loose ends are tied together. Several of the small unimportant details become suddenly significant and play an important role in typing them up together.

    I wish someone picks up this book to convert it into a movie. At least the masses who haven't read this book will get to see a good suspense thriller after a long time.
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  2. 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
     The Bankster-Review 14 January, 2013 On
    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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  3. 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
     Book Review: Bankster By Ravi Subramanian: An Excellently Woven Murder Mystery 31 December, 2012 On

    This is not the first book from Ravi Subramanian. He already has four hits in his pocket. This is his fifth in a row that is going to add in the same series of his hits. It was quite exhaustive and beautifully driven concept. A depth in the subject and clarity of mind is quite visible. Author has been a core banker and hence knows ins and outs of the processes and flaws of banking system that he has tried to explore and expose in this book titled as BANKSTER.

    Anyhow I have decided to read all his previous and forthcoming books without fail. Thanks to Blogadda for providing this opportunity. Perhaps the author has portrayed himself in the character of Karan Panjabi who resolves an international mystery of serial killings within 48 hours after he gets into it. The sequence is woven to perfectly that no thread is seen disconnected. The mix of plot is done fantastically that you keep roaming in Angola, Vienna, Mumbai and Devikulam meeting various characters but stay connected with the crux and finally are able to interconnect the deep roots of all characters met in various locations over the globe.

    The story is about an MNC bank that has cream of employees, and pays highest of the salaries to grab best in the market. And that is what makes it one of the most successful banks in India. Having its India operations headquarters in Mumbai, the Greater Boston Global Bank (GB2) is operative in all major and even remotest of cities of India. Claiming to be having one of the best HR, operations, sales, finance and investigations department; it had all kind of wrong and right; bad and good elements in its staff right up to the top level and it was quite difficult to find out the real culprits right till the end when the person who was being targeted to be the culprit is found not guilty to that extent that he could be the reason of series of murders of GB2 staff happening from time to time.

    Let us start with the character that joined readers when more than half of the book was over but who became center of attraction gradually. This guy is Karan Panjabi who is a banker turned press reporter for Times of India who finally (at the end, after resolving the whole mystery) joins the same bank that he has left due to an internal rift and joins back after resolving the mystery of serial murders of its key employees, as chief of operations. To some this character might not appeal rightly presented by the author, the way Panjabi joins us without much hype, and silently moves towards his target of pinning down the murderer within a stipulated period of a little over two days. We have some of the excellently carved characters who fit into their role quite well – whether right or wrong as ultimately the character is one who is able to play its role perfectly.

    This novel is all fit to be converted into a Bollywood movie as it has all kind of masala in it – thrill, mystery, murders, overseas locations – Angola, middle east, Germany, US
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  4. 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
     WoW 26 October, 2013 On
    Another spine chilling thriller from Ravi Subramanian. The book has been a real page-turner right from the beginning when one starts wondering what a diamond business in African countries has got to do with the insiders of banking operations at GB2 bank in India. The title was apt for the story.
    It is quite evident from this book that large corporations either private or public are most prone to criminal activities through their own insiders which might sometimes go to the extent of huge financial losses to the whole country, as such, in unimaginable ways and means. It is well elicited in this book of how top executive sitting in corporate office of a multi national bank could resort to such financial crimes through a well organized network of criminals who were recruited into the bank very cleverly and later used to help international fraud agencies to fund agitations and protests against good government causes, thus slowing down the economic and social progress of the country in international arena. The reader will get to know various mind boggling technologies that could be used to assist such activities.
    All goes well until Karan Panjabi, the high profile journo from Times of India intervenes and investigates the death of his friend and ex-colleague along with two other mysterious deaths of employees who accidentally unveiled the scam and people behind the multi-million dollar racket. A very clever turn of events towards the end and a nail-biting climax brings the story to a happy ending when all the gangsters and banksters involved face their justified fate.
    The story once again brings out the weaknesses of large corporations in tracking the frauds master-minded by the insiders even though the best of the technologies, processes and filters are implemented at all levels. And in this game, it is observed that the author repeatedly highlights the point that most of the times, powerful men use beautiful women, strategically, to keep away from the suspicious scanners (like in his previous books too).
    A great book to read and the author is undoubtedly the John Grisham of India.
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  5.  Thriller lovers! You can't not-read The Bankster 29 December, 2012 On
    Well, first of all my gratitude towards BlogAdda to provide me the opportunity to review this book free of charge.


    Ravi Subramanian, as remarked, is the John Grisham of Banking thriller genre, and not wrongly. And The Bankster conforms to all the banking and thriller standards in its story lineup.


    The most likable fact of this novel is that all major characters are given their fair share of development and face value. This thing is evenly visible from the book’s trailer on youtube easily.


    The story starts with a normal tell-tale of an international investment bank GB2’s Bandra branch in India and the daily work-life of its employees, RMs, HR, branch heads, cluster head, CEO, etc. It briefly and at a steady pace takes you explaining work culture in any such bank, the politics, minor and major money-launderings, mind games, relationships, etc. in the first half.

    The turn in the story comes when in the author’s own words: 'Bankers build their careers on trust, or so everyone thinks, till a series of murders threaten to destroy the reputation that the Greater Boston Global Bank (GB2) has built over the years. Who is behind these killings, and what is their motive? Is the banker at GB2 fast turning into a bankster? Or he was always one?'

    In addition to the Banking scam coming up, two other minor stories go on being narrated side by side; one dealing with an international arms dealer, and the other one about being a nuclear reactor being commissioned in Devikulam, India. But all the stories begin to merge as the scam starts unraveling under the finance-detective eyes of Karan Panjabi, an ex-banker who works for a national daily now. He is driven to the case only when his best friend is murdered who was getting close to uncovering international money-laundering scam on the basis of fraud accounts getting set-up within GB2 branches.

    The second half encompasses Karan’s efforts along with help of a few others in the bank, with only 36 hrs at their disposal, to uncover the grappling truth behind all these murders and the proper reason behind them. The script is very good and narration has imprints of an established writer. The author has done a commanding work from start till the end taking the story at a fine and steady pace, unfolding all events at seemingly right timings.

    The reader will always keep wondering after all who The Bankster among the characters is! An intelligent work, if not masterpiece, of mystery webs and speculations (from reader's point of view).

    And hey! What a big moment when he/she is brought open at the climax!!!


    Balanced details of investment banking and other events at right pace.
    Balanced character development mostly
    Genuine and taut thriller
    Author’s successful intent on maintaining mystery at various turning points
    Raunchiness not much overplayed.

    Dislikes: Few loosing ends of the story (like no further issue taken up on what happened to people who put up fraud accounts initially in GB2 which were later found to be a part of a global money-laundering scam).

    Well, nonetheless, likes are much heavier here than dislikes. And the epilogue provides a fitting end to the novel. Read it for entertainment and thrilling 2nd half.
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  6.  The gangster of the bank... from money to murder! 4 January, 2013 On
    Bankers are pictured to be the kind having a very boring professional life, but this book opened my eyes to those aspects of the field that i had no clue existed. Banks are associated first with money, and where there is money, there is deceit, fraud, competition, jealousy, greed and what not. Murder? Yes, that too! The fact that money is the root cause for all evil is portrayed excellently in 'The Bankster' by Ravi Subramanian.

    The novel succeeds in capturing the essence of different kinds of India. From amchi Mumbai to the peaceful Cochin to the beautiful Vienna and the dusty Angola. From high corporate parties to large scale village protests, the author manages to capture all the flavors of Indian brains beautifully while keeping the plot of the story very mysterious and brain-tickling right till the very end. Infidelity and commitment seems to be an irony at the end of this book somehow. The presence of non-Indian entities looting India, through Indians, of its deserving success is heartbreaking!

    The story in most part of the book revolves within a web of many stories and you begin to wonder how all these are ever going to be related. As the story unfolds, slowly everything makes sense, things steam up and you can't wait to know what is up. This book starts a little slow and i had to struggle a little to keep the interest alive, but as it proceeded, i was hooked, and towards the end i was gripped and couldn't wait to finish it.

    The author had a very good command over his knowledge in Banking and it certainly shows in his work. The whole book is a compilation of intelligent and tricky moves and is also an eye-opener to people stepping into the corporate world today with whom-and-how-do-we-trust issues. Over all, a very interesting and intellectual read and definitely a book to grab from your nearest book store.
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  7.  The Banskster: A Review 10 January, 2013 On
    The John Grisham of Banking Ravi Subramanian is back with a bang with another crime thriller.

    The backdrop is again a banking environment for which the author is famous for, but what sets this novel apart is the concept of two parallel series going along with the main plot. The prelude begins in Angola where a secret CIA agent Joseph Braganza plans to exchange military weapons for uncut blood diamonds. Following this the plot suddenly changes and you land in an entirely different setting. Devikulam, Kerala where an old man fights for justice with his wife and son; with an added twist of a nuclear attack some years later that is somehow all interlinked.

    The story sets in almost more than a decade later in the Greater Boston Global Bank (GB2) opening with Vikram Bhal the flamboyant and shrewd Head of Retail Banking GB2 and Tanuja, the Head HR in a conversation. The plot focuses on the Bandra branch of the bank where everything is not as it seems and no one can trust another; double crosses, deceit and looks rule. Apart from the little issues and corruption life at the bank is pretty normal until accidents and suicides of employees start happening all of a sudden. What seem as regular deaths all happening at once due to some personal reason or external affairs are coined as murders by an ex-employee.

    The plot keeps on shifting to Devikulam, Kerala where the old man fights the government to be transparent about the nuclear power plant project in the vicinity and back to GB2 Mumbai. At times it gets difficult to relate where all this is heading. Personally, I had to leaf backward through pages to read about a certain character again. At that point, there is loss of focus and one keeps on thinking how all of this is interconnected, as there are no interconnections but the story just moves along in a parallel fashion.

    The good thing is that at the end all the queries, there are no loose string which one can question. Another strong point of the novel is the writer’s ability to maintain the mystery till the very end. The climax keeps you on your toes and you yourself get involved.

    The Bankster is not only well researched and presented but also incorporates the conventional corporate lifestyle.
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  8.  Corporate Roller Coaster Ride 13 January, 2013 On
    First off, lets get one thing straight: this is not a book for the college student. This is a book targeted at the working professional as it delves deeply into the normal humdrum routine in an office, the political powerplays, harmless byplays, flouting of norms etc. It also refers to the question of success at any costs vs process-driven, honest and strategic working styles. In fact, in my opinion, that is the core of the story. Without an exposure to work experience, it would be difficult to get into the skin of the story. You do not need to have financial sector exposure, but yes - work experience is needed in my opinion purchased the product?
    Aim for between 75 and 300 words: for a full enjoyment and understanding of this book. For the others, the story would seemingly meander from around page 40 to page 100. In reality, the story does not meander at any point; the book is the fastest-paced book I have read in a long, long time.

    Character development is flawless, if somewhat cliched. Cant say more, read the book. The author has used stereotypes superbly well in order to create the proper effect and impact. Further, note that this book has some 12 central characters - in a fast paced book. That indicates that the flow of the story, the character development and the plotting is par excellence. A few story turns also depend upon the personality of the character and the background. In other words, the author has used the character's personality to carry the story forward in places, leading to a scorching pace. The writing style is clean and effective, and enjoyable. All in all, 5 stars to the book..
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  9.  The Gangster at the Bank! 27 December, 2012 On
    I have to start by saying that this is the first time I have read Ravi Subramanian. I also have to confess that I have zero knowledge in the areas of banking and finance – despite a thousand people trying their best to explain things to me. So you will be surprised when I say that I loved The Bankster.

    Synopsis: (No Spoilers!)
    The author would like to say that there are 3 stories intertwined with each other in The Bankster, but actually it is just one – the one that happens at GB2 bank. The other stories that are happening at Angola, Kerala, and Vienna are all merely a part of this story.

    The Bankster deals with the life and story of banking employees in GB2 bank and all the dirty stuff that happens in the background (like it does in any other organization). There are a few moderately good guys, the bad guys, and the really bad guys.

    Now, if you really think that I don’t sound very happy with the book – that is not true – I am merely trying to avoid any spoilers and you should read this book to actually enjoy it.

    The Author:
    As I picked up the book and looked at the cover, it said the Wall Street Journal called him the John Grisham of Banking. I said to myself – “That is a pretty bold claim”. But trust me, after I have read through the book, I think that he definitely is the John Grisham of banking and the book kept reminding me of The Firm.

    His style of writing is good and he has woven the stories together well. His language is perfect for the average Indian and I found it nice that he has used Hindi phrases and words in dialogues – seems realistic.

    Ravi has a website but it seems quite neglected and he seems to have shifted to his FB Page to reach out to his fans better (surprisingly, even the QR code behind the book points to here). However, I would have really loved it if the website was maintained properly too.

    What could have been Better:
    The hero was not as properly introduced as the villains were. I had no idea who the hero was until the very end when he started solving the case. And, the hero appears quite superhuman as he solves the mystery in a few days. Felt like the editor told the author, “You can’t have such a big book, make it short!” and then the author just went and condensed the last 100 pages into 50 pages. Apart from this, I could not find any major issues with the book (and I was looking to find something) – Cheers to Ravi for that.

    Who Will Like It:
    The Short Version – John Grisham fans will love it.
    The Long Version – The Bankster is a really nice book – has everything to make it a page-turner and has captured modern India quite nicely and convincingly. Not only has he put his experience in the domain to good use, but also has done enough research on various other areas to make it complete. What I loved about it is that the author’s knowledge is not limited to banking, but it also appears like he has traveled a lot and does read the newspaper :)

    Who Will NOT Like it:I can't think of anyone who would not really enjoy it. I mean, anyone who likes good thrillers will love it. Like I said, I hate banking and finance and I understand nothing of it – yet I was pretty comfortable throughout the book as the author has explained most things that appear even a wee bit too technical.

    My Rating:

    This is a 3.5 out of 5:

    If you thought 3.5 is too high - I rated it 3.5 because it was a pleasant surprise. I had expected nothing when I picked up this book to read and that actually worked for me. I enjoyed the really complicated story and also learned a few things on the way.

    If you thought 3.5 is too low – Well, it is simply not a 4 or a 5. The language is simple and the story borders on convincing. The end was a little too rushed. It really is a 3.5 – nothing more, nothing less.

    The story is fast-paced and interesting, giving a fresh new look at our banking system. The characters seem real enough – except for the one in Angola (seems a bit too Hollywoody). The language is simple enough and yet catchy. Good research has gone into it. I am really not sure why people have a problem with Hindi being used in conversations in the book – firstly, that is how the current Indian generation speaks (70% English, 30% Hindi) and secondly, a lot of authors like Coelho, Archer, and Sheldon have always used traces of Italian or Spanish in their books – so why not Hindi?

    Like I said at the start, I loved the book for what it is – A simple thriller that takes you through the lives of bankers and the banking system that has a good story to back it up and a great ending. So assume nothing - Just pick up the book and give it a shot - I am pretty sure you will not be disappointed!

    Happy Reading!
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  10.  A package of three Ts ‘twists, turns and thrills’ 25 December, 2012 On
    A financial thriller that is unputdownable.

    First things first, I liked the Title of the Book, Bankster, an example of portmanteau word.
    The cover page is also absolutely appealing. The banking intricacies have been handled wonderfully in here and could have not been done by anyone off the field. The banker cum author Mr. Ravi has crafted the story handsomely and put across the readers perfectly. Turning the pages becomes a mandate because you want to know whats happening next. I liked the conversations among the high management and it was easy to connect with them because we know how the private sector functions.

    The plot is interesting, and the high point of the book was the murder that took place in Vienna. The dozes of chills and thrills are too many and well timed. Reading the book was a pleasure and I am looking forward to the other books of the writer.

    The writing style of the Author is friendly and lovable. The characters etched out seem believable and the beauty of it all is that he has successfully been able to connect them taking the story at three different locations. He doesn’t lose the hold on the story at any place neither does he gives the suspense easily.

    Thumps Up!!
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Most Recent Reviews
  1.  Thriller At Its Best!
    My first Ravi Subramanian's Book that i have ever read,Honestly,after reading 'The Bankster' he has became one of my favorite author.

    So,The story revolves around three epicenters which encompasses of Joseph Barganza, a blood diamond dealer in Angola, Vikram-Tanuja-Nikhil face the corporate Read more
    Published 2 years ago by Ibrahim Qureshi On
  2.  WoW
    Another spine chilling thriller from Ravi Subramanian. The book has been a real page-turner right from the beginning when one starts wondering what a diamond business in African countries has got to do with the insiders of banking operations at GB2 bank in India. The title was apt for the story.
    It Read more
    Published 2 years ago by THREEKAY On
  3.  onglomerate of Murder mystery and money laundering scam
    A book which you would not be able to put down till you reach the end. I bought this book as a means to pass time during a boring flight and a never ending flight delay however I just could not keep it aside even after I was back home.

    The first few chapters are descent like any other book Read more
    Published 3 years ago by Arnav On
  4.  Ab absolute page turner which will keep you on your toes
    The Bankster is one of those few books which would keep you hooked till the end. I was lucky that I got a signed copy of it and also got a chance to meet Ravi Subramanian and he shared many things about the book with me. If you are looking for some hardcore thrillers which would compel you to keep wondering Read more Published 3 years ago by Yatin On
  5.  Absolute Pageturner
    The Bankster is one of those few books which would keep you hooked till the end. I was lucky that I got a signed copy of it and also got a chance to meet Ravi Subramanian and he shared many things about the book with me. If you are looking for some hardcore thrillers which would compel you to keep wondering Read more Published 3 years ago by Yatin Gupta On
  6.  The Very Indian Mystery Novel - The Bankster
    I started reading the novel being prejudiced against the Indian mystery novel writers, being judgmental that they could never bring out something in international level. But once started I could race through
    the 358 pages , nd 47 chapters, holding my breath, only stopping in between to attend some Read more
    Published 3 years ago by Farida On
  7.  Yes to the Bankster
    Ravi Subramanian had yet unraveled his financial thriller again, and his magic never ceases to amaze the audience. (or so it did to me) that I vowed at the end of the book to definitely read his “If God was a Banker” too!

    The story begins with the transaction of Blood Diamonds in Angola, how Read more
    Published 3 years ago by Kappu On
  8.  Amazing Book
    This book is one of its kind. Amazing amalagamation of Banking and Thriller genre. Lovely work Ravi. We want more from you. Published 3 years ago by XTC On
  9.  The Bankster - a racy book
    Thanks to blogadda, for giving me an opportunity to read the author’s autographed book "The Bankster". As the name suggests, it is the story of a banker and two gangsters. The trio are involved in illegal trading of blood diamonds and arms, money laundering and nuclear power installation Read more Published 3 years ago by Asha On
  10.  The Bankster - Almost a Grisham
    The book is around 350 pages and has a nice, sleek look. The book feels good in your hands, with a little bit of texture on the cover.

    The plot has three parallels - a CIA operative shrouded in mystery; an elderly gentleman who runs a resort in Kerala with his stand on a nuclear reactor planned Read more
    Published 3 years ago by Meena On