November 07, 2014

Is Revenge the Best Solution? - Review of God is A Gamer by Ravi Subramanian

God is a Gamer (English): BookGod is A Gamer -  Ravi Subramanian 
Publishers - Penguin Books India                              
Genre - Contemporary - Thriller

Paperbook - 210  Pages
Price: Rs 299

Available at Leading Indian Stores and Amazon 



Blurb
What happens when you cross gamer, banker, politician and terrorist with virtual money? God Is a Gamer is a world where money means nothing, martyrs are villains, predators are prey, assassination is taught by the ancient Greeks, and nothing is as it seems.



 Ravi Subramanian is considered the Indian John Grisham of financial/banking thrillers and there is no question about his insider knowledge of the banking system and the industry at large.
In fact, I bought one of his bestsellers "Bankrupt" for my dad (a banker himself). Unfortunately, he fell sick and never got a chance to read it. It stills lies on my book shelf, unread. Given my audit and finance background and my interest in technology, it's only natural I grabbed at the chance to review his latest thriller offering. 

Review -
The book didn't disappoint when it came to the goings-on in the banking sector - the card processing and scamming aspect of the business, to be specific. The addition of the bitcoin trail was a welcome move. 

The book starts off with a worried head honcho (or should that be two worried head honchos) of one of the biggest card payment processing companyies in the world - MasterCard (no prizes for guessing right) planning a meeting with his business rival. Senator Gillan Tan, who has the President's ears, steps in and diffuses the sizeable threat to profitability of the comapnies but traps the two men in a reciprocrity bond. We are given a glimpse, not only into the discreet lobbying in Washington, but also a peek into the Senator's daily routine. As you wonder where this is headed, trouble erupts, rather explodes, claiming th elives of Senator and his entourage. This is rapidly followed by an ATM heist in NewYork that have the bankers in a twist and pulls the FBI into action. The case picks up new scents including a bitcoin based dark web network, scams in multinational banks, hacking within/through gaming companies before dropping us into a world of deceit - a dark place where family members, colleagues and friends wear masks disguisng their true character and intentions.

The actions is spread over many locations and moves from the power corridors of Washington to the banking zones of Mumbai, the drug addled beaches of Goa, the Finance Ministry in Delhi; and to a lesser extent New York City, Stanford, and Ukraine. It reveals the banks' recurrent battle with phishing, sponsored heists, hacks, internal scams and ego-driven bickering within in the upper echelons of these financial giants.
Despite the brutal killing of a US Senator Tan, the murder of an Indian CEO of an MNC bank Malvika Sehgal, the hit-and-run death of her immediate but defiant subordinate Swamy, the story is essentially about greed, deceit, acts of betrayal and revenge.

When Aditya, ex-boss at NHIB - the MNC bank and now owner of two successful companies, welcomes estranged son, Varun back into his life, he never quite imagined the nature of events that followed. Neither did his ex-colleague and current CEO, Malavika forsee her downfall. 
Varun hits off with Malvika daughter Tanya while in Mumbai; their acquaintance established on a previous visit to Rio, Brazil. The lives of Malvika, Swamy, Mike, Josh, Nikki and the rest of the characters are inadvertently tied to each other through their actions.

But both Varun and Tanya have secrets hidden from each other and the rest of world, secrets that have deadly consequences for everyone involved. They have seperate agendas and yet share a strange link with Senator Tan.

The book is pacey enough and has a lot of short and single page chapters. The author has done his research when it comes to the banking and gaming scenarios. There are no black and white charcters here, except for Sundeep, as the rest are realistically presented in varying shades of grey. There is a bit of technical stuff that may distract a reader unfamiliar with either systems but is necessary enough for the plot.

Things that bugged me include: a step-motherly treatment to bitcoins, info dump on gaming, more of "tell versus show" style of writing, clipped dialogues, too many sub plots, and a blotchy, narrative ending. Not  a single character was worthy of readers empathy or cheering, except perhaps for Swamy and Aditya. Varun and Tanya's choices (revealed at the end) left me cold and with ambivalent feelings for both of them.

In short, it's a good one-time read and gets a 3 star rating from me. (Goodreads version - I like the book) Will I recommend it to others? - Only to friends who prefer Indian authors and family menbers in the banking sector.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book as part of the Book Reviews Program of blogadda.com.

2 comments:

ce8d632a-647c-11e3-94d3-000bcdcb2996 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pat Tillett said...

Hi Rekha!
Thanks for the review. I already have too many books waiting to be read, so I can't add any new books, especially ones that aren't top rated.

It is nice to see your post and I hope you are doing well.

Post a Comment

Glad you made it this far...would love to hear your take on the words scribbled. A comment every now and then keeps the blues away. :D

Since, crazy Mr. Blogspot won't let me reply to the comments here (is upset with the water ladies ever since they refused to verify visitors)...will do the next best thing, drop in to your blog to say my Vanakkam/Namaste/Salaam/Hello.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...