Book Review: The Bankster

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Title: The Bankster
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Paperback, 358 pages

Rating: Grisham of Banking? Not yet, but an author with potential of being a great one… A must read for corporate saga fans.

Summary (via Goodreads)

The uneasy calm in Greater Boston Global Bank (GB2) is shattered when a series of murders rock the façade of the compliant and conforming bank that GB2 has built up over the years. Who is to blame? Who is driving these intriguing and bone chilling murders? What is the motive behind these gruesome killings? No one has a clue.

And when Karan Panjabi, a press reporter and an ex-banker digs deeper, he realizes that he has stumbled on a global conspiracy with far reaching ramifications – a secret that could destroy not only the bank but cast a shadow on the entire nation. With only thirty-six hours at his disposal, he is running out of time and must trust no one if he wants to stay alive and uncover the truth.

About the book:

Ok, First of all I should confess that the back cover of the book got me totally interested. According to the summary, there are three major pillars of the story: an undercover CIA agent, a lone n old social worker in Kerala and the GB2 bank staff. The book starts off with a chapter that builds much interest about the CIA agent and his activities. Then the story starts revolving mostly around all staff in GB2 bank in Mumbai while it keeps visiting the social worker in Kerala who is opposing the Nuclear Power plant. Frankly the first part of the story got a little off track for me. It wasn’t until halfway when some people started dying (quite predictable though interesting way of telling) when story got more interesting. But the protagonist (Karan Punjabi) took really long to appear. So long that I had already forgotten about him. And at the end of book, I was confused about who was the real protagonist.

What I really liked:

Anyway, after the slow speed of plot in first half, story picked up speed. The character Karan Punjabi who has old ties with the bank gets involved and there the story gets really interesting. I wished there was more to CIA guy. It looks like he didn’t really get much face-time in the story. Though it was pretty obvious where things were gonna lead, the way they unraveled in the plot was damn cool. This is where I got the hint of author’s potential of becoming a great mystery writer. The story ended quite realistically for the genre. It didn’t end up in miracles. Everything was legal to allowable extent.

Final words:

I would really recommend this book to people who love to read corporate thrillers. Writing style of author makes this book a really great reading experience. His narration is top class. One thing I find different about Ravi Subramanian’s writing is there are no unnecessary details about things like we see in some other Indian novels. I guess I should congratulate the author as well as his editors for doing a great job.

 

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Book Review: A Flawed God

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Title: A Flawed God
Author: Arjun Shekhar
PP: 284 pages
Price: Rs. 250 (get it for Rs. 200 here)
My Rating: 2/5 … Read if you like corporate thrillers, but don’t expect much real action 😉

Before I say anything else, here is a quote on back cover of book that made me get it:

An ordinary corporate executive turns assassin to save his firm from ruin with the help of the master of a secret guild out to revolutionize the corporation…

Wow, I thought. Another thriller in making. And that too with a different story. We know all dark corporate evil people who hire assassins for their deeds. But this was first time (as far as I know) that someone was actually dirtying their own hands, or so I thought.

The back cover of book, including line quoted above, had this:

Sanchit Mishra a.k.a. Sancho is staring bleakly at his performance appraisal form when an invitation from the mysterious Progress in Work Collective lands on his desk. His colleague and confidante, Pause Daniels, urges him to dig deeper. Soon he finds himself sucked into a secret world of anonymous superheroes out to revolutionize the business world by attacking that flawed god it worships – the share market. This parallel life pumps some self-esteem into Sancho, preparing him to do what’s needed when the firm is taken over by a multinational and an ugly industrial relations situation ensues.

The case for the transfer of ownership from shareholders to employees is made through Sancho and Pause’s story in this witty, fast-paced corporate allegory.

Now this got me confused (and a bit exited) about the book and I just dug in.

First two-three chapters actually got me interested in the plot. Sanchit aka Sancho gets the invite form Progress in Work Collective or as they call it, The Collective.
He flies to Turkey (at his own cost of course 🙄 ) and  somehow, after a terrifying journey (for him) reaches the destination.

The Collective is supposedly an underground society or something which fights for reorganization of all typical corporate organizations and make them more Employee focused than they are now. Good concept really. Someone really needs to do that, I agree. But I did not get why it had to be underground and so secret.

Then it the story revealed that there was a nemesis for The Collective, none other than ‘Shareholder’s Conscience’. Now that is a cool name. These shareholders are supposedly dangerous people and they always assassinate the ‘Master Craftsman’, the leader of The Collective. Well, things got little skeptical here for me. But I held on.

Then suddenly, after a good start of selection process of The Collective, story jumped 15 days to Sancho’s office. Author says he did not want to bore us with details of selection procedure, but it was awesome nonetheless. Hmmm. I was dissatisfied. I wanted things to go into more secrets but apparently there were more pressing matters at hand like villain of Sancho’s career, the General Manager of his company being sacked, Sancho’s boss getting abducted by a local goon (claiming it being on behalf of worker’s Union), Management changing hands, Acquisition of company by some American company etc.

So Sancho suddenly finds himself facing a lot of opportunities  to lead and he does that. He is (from start of the book) being helped by his genius colleague Pause. Now Sancho and Pause have to save company, their boss, their employees from a fiasco. Somewhere down the line I remember exactly how the story had started. And I found the most interesting part (for me) nearly forgotten. :O

The book ends with the protagonist(s) getting their love, victory and well deserved whatever. But it leaves you confused. 😀

The good:

Good points about how Employee’s turn into mindless ‘appraisal thinkers’. Author’s HR experience surely shines here. The language of the book is really good (I recently read Immortals of Meluha and The Secret of Nagas). Concept of The Collective, however far-fetched, was interesting. But..

The Bad:

Author blames current share market for world’s current condition. Though he would sound perfect to people who don’t understand Share market properly, I found it little far fetched. I know some points he makes are true, but they cannot be held solely responsible for everything. And even if we ignore the share market thing, I did not understand why he had to build so much mystery about The Collective and let it go just like that.  I wish he had written Sancho becoming a real sharp shooter or something and saving his company. 😀

The Final Word:

Though I sound skeptical all through this review, I must give credit to the author for picking up a bold subject. People who go through all work tensions and know what evil thing ‘the appraisal’ is will agree with him. I would say read this book if you like corporate thrillers. The action thriller fans can skip it. 😆 If Arjun Shekhar writes another book, I will surely give it a try. 🙂

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Book Review: A Prisoner Of Birth by Jeffrey Archer

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I have read many books in last 2 months and there are at least three Book Review posts(incomplete) in my drafts. Anyway, this review is gonna very short. 😀 Guess what, I wasn’t at all surprised by twists and turns typical to Jefferey Archer.

Summary on back cover says:

The fiction starts with Daniel Arthur Cartwright(Danny) & his girlfriend Elizabeth Wilson(Beth) meeting up at a bar ‘Dunlop Arms’ on invitation of his girlfriend’s brother & his best chap in life,         Bernard Henry Wilson(Bernie). Bernie gets over an heated argument centered on Beth with 4 strangers i.e, a barrister, a popular actor, an aristocrat & the youngest partner in an established construction company which eventually leads to murder of Bernie. Guess who’s accused as the murderer-Danny instead of the 4 protagonists.

Thus begins Jeffrey Archer’s most powerful novel since ‘Kane & Abel’ with the trial in which Danny is sentenced to 22yrs in Belmarsh prison- the highest security jail in England, because who’s gonna believe the truth lying with Danny & Beth when 4 powerful protagonists stand in the witness box.

Most powerful??? Certainly not. I am no lawyer, but still I was able to think of points the Defense Lawyer failed to notice. And what a surprise, it turned out to be *turning point* of our Hero’s life.

*************Spoilers below this line***************

A man(novels Hero) and his girlfriend, celebrate with her bro in a bar. A person acompained by 3 more people passes some bad comments on her. Brother get angry. They fight. Our Hero gets injured by a knife in left leg above knee. The bro gets stabbed in chest and dies. The blame comes on the Hero (name Danney).

20080331_jeffreysNow Danney gets a lawyer and fights against these four people who are well known legends in their field. I was wondering all through the case why there isn’t a single mention of Danney’s injury?

And in the meantime, Danney is sent to prison where he gets nice cellmates one of whom is a court marshaled army officer. He teaches hime reading, writing and manners, language etc. Danney and Nick(the court marshaled officer) look same. The same voice(?), style, looks, hair(thats possible) etc etc. So when somehow this Nick dies, Danney gets out of prison in his place faking his own death.

Fine. I buy this much. But after getting out of prison, Danney seamlessly operates and takes place of Nick. He becomes expert in Stocks, Property, and takes many decisions which makes him millionaire.

He executes his plans of revenge on the four culprits. And somehow one of them realizes its not Nick but  dear old Danney taking revenge. So  they trap him, get in custody and again case in court.

Now, this is the part I liked best. I like the court proceedings (but I don’t have any wish of having some experience of it 😀 ). So this part is full of bombs and landmines 😀  The key point, the turning point, a small thing that saves Danney life is his Leg injury during the fight in which his friend died. WoW. Thas really amazing Jeffrey!! I am still unable think how a lawyer can miss to mention such a crucial point? may be that happens only in novels.

*************Spoilers End***************

I have tried to lessen the spoilers but I can’t help it. Book is nice read if you don’t try to think everything logically or you are not a lawyer. Good as fiction and will certainly make a good Bollywood movie. But I am sure if someone makes a Bollywood movie on this book, the main killer will be caught in his own words in court and will start crying and shout suddenly,” YES, I KILLED HIM *SOB* *SOB*, I WAS DRUNK AND I DIDN’T KNOW…. blah blah blah…..”  😀

My Rating: Read if you have plenty of time. Rating 2.5/5

I know 2.5 is little more, but he has certainly written some good parts.

Cheers

(P.S> This is my first book review. So there are mistakes. Kindly ignore them 🙂 .
Coming soon book reviews: The Kite Runner, Life of PI, Next, The Third Girl….
I know these are old books and had been reviewed by many bloggers, but I read them recently!!
Sorry  but Confessions Revisited 2 is still in Progress as I am out of ideas.)