The spectacular array of skyscrapers in the background and an armed man with a briefcase in the foreground makes a good cover for a thriller entwined with intricate webs of “lies, deceit and treachery.” The man spares an intimidating glance at you and you cannot help but notice that
“cut above his right eyebrow which extends across his forehead.” Curly hair, clean shave, probably flawless skin too but because he does not have a lean body and a small frame therefore he cannot be Joseph Braganza alias Mir Zawari alias Suresh Ramamurthy aka Abhishek Mathur.
So, who is he? Who is the bankster? Vikram Bahl, Tanuja Mathur, Zinaida Gomes or someone else? Is the story about that handsome man cum CIA agent cum the so-called archetypal villain who sits in Range Rover in the prologue reading a newspaper which unnecessarily seems to “scream” instead of conveying a certain Ambassador’s statement or appeal. The prologue isn’t enough to get a hang of this character. He is an agent who has something to do with blood diamonds and facilitates or as we get to know later acts as a broker for arms deals between nations going to war. He is also Agent Solomon employed by CIA to channelize and launder money for United States.
Okay, now all this is too much of a work and so the poor “agent” has forgotten when did he pick that woman he is now lying with. At one point of time we are informed that he can handle the “roughness with aplomb” and in the very next sentence quite paradoxically we find his aderline rushing and excitement overwhelming. Unfortunately the MI and Bond series have somehow addicted us to more intelligent and alert covert agents which has corrupted our conception about them.
Moving on, next comes the Menon family in Kerela and we begin to see a brave and pragmatic son of the Menons, Arvind. But don’t pin your hopes on him because in the subsequent chapters he will figure only as a shadow to motivate Mr. Menon after his death. Then there is his wife, his Mahout, the MLA, Employees at Greater Boston Global Bank, CCD guy, fisherman, police guys in
Vienna, cashier at the department store etc all named and particularized. The author while he keeps bombarding with a lot of information to facilitate the readers on one hand, displaying his hysteria that readers may miss out the point due to lack of technical knowledge on the other hand he takes the readers for granted to deal with thousamd names thrown at them for some unknown reason and new characters keep cropping up till two-third of the volume.
A man is killed or dies in an accident. Police shuts the case, colleagues offer condolence and forget and the author lets his readers forget him too. You don’t know in which direction is your mystery thrilling moving to, what are you supposed to look out for even after you have read a major chunk of the novel. The narrative drags and there is no motivation to turn the pages. The incidents are too disjointed for readers to keep a track of them.
Diamonds seem interesting things to fight for once the world is done with crude oil. USA and Russia are still the arch warring countries. Fools we were to imagine China was the next big thing!
The book gains pace only after the second last death in the novel i.e. Harshita’s which triggers some concentrated efforts towards problem searching and problem solving. Before this the narrative is spent on dilly dallying movememnts along not-so relevant alleys. The debrief interludes into the lives of people such as that of the fisherman’s is useless. This makes the process of concealing too over-stretched and too many layers kills readers’ interest.
However, Ravi Subramanian does a brilliant job when he delves into banking industry in his book. The fact that he has worked in it for two decades becomes more than evident in his neat handling of that section in his writing. He makes good effort to give comprehensive explanations when
required for technologically inept readers and also when he is dealing with Banking jargons. But the problem of too many names persist which adds too many tentacles and adversely effects the process of suspense-building. The revealing mechanism of the suspense is thrilling but technology steals the show. Therefore, what could have been a herculean task, here it gets
solved too simply as technology takes centerstage instead of being an ally and as a result the so-called seekers get relegated. Karan, Kavya and Hemant are no Sherlock Holmes, they come across as people with appropriate resources and contacts.
The Bankster disappoints when the two major culprits are allowed to die undignified deaths and the saga is suddenly over in a jiffy.