Fraudster By R.V.Raman

There are people who will do anything to silence those who come in their way, who will stop at nothing, including murder.

A young banker is found dead a day after she deposes before a commission investigating large-scale financial fraud...
A doyen of corporate India falls to his death from his South Bombay flat...
A high-security server room of a multinational accounting firm is hacked, and the hackers aren't looking for just company secrets...

Illicit finance, high-stakes crime and vicious manipulation come together in this story of corruption, greed and treachery among corporate India's black sheep. Arresting, fast-paced and written by an insider from the corporate world, Fraudster will keep you on your toes till the very end.

Nimue Says :  I have read quite a few books based on banking sector but this is the first I read about the scams and frauds that happen or may be possible in Banks. And then , none of it is possible without the contribution of some people at the right places - businessmen , politicians ,goons and a few naive ones who bear the burnt of such crimes. 

The book begins with death of one such victim - Shruti who is murdered soon after she is found guilty of negligence at work that caused the bank she worked , a loss of about 200 crores. ( I actually found it amusing that most of the money transactions happen to be in crores - 100+ crore !! Are all banks so damn rich ? ) Only one person in the commission, Mr Visht  knew for sure that shruti was a victim actually and her death makes him look into the matter more closely.

Visht has troubles in his own bank too and he takes help from his friend and auditor Subbu to highlight these risks to management at his bank.No one knows the extent of such investigations but the peace of few people has been compromised. When such huge finances are involved , the measures one take to save himself are as extreme. 

One death follows another and while the incidents seem random at the beginning , Inspector Ranade and Subbu's god-daughter Varsha soon realize they are all connected to the investigation Visht started. In this web of money , frauds and nexus between various parties , the actual fraud runs layers deep. It takes Varsha , Ranade and Kamini ( Visht's daughter) a long time and some daring actions to catch the Fraudster red handed.

The book has a set pace throughout - neither too fast , nor does it lags . There are few probable culprits all along the book but one can not guess the real kingpin behind the crimes easily. What I liked about the book is the fact that the action scenes are not exaggerated and it is mostly a brain game to both manage the fraud and to uncover it.

The author, being from the same world , has added a lot of authenticity to the plot and it was not much difficult to follow the threads of money and scams. RV Raman has done his homework well and created some very real and likeable characters. I would like to read another adventure by Inspector Ranade. 

The end is satisfying though on a personal level , I feel sad about such state of affairs in our society. Greed is one thing but when it makes people kill the people they know well , it is just infinitely upsetting. 

My Rating : 4/5

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Nikhimenon says :

Publisher:Hachette India
Price:250 INR/-
Source:Review copy via Writer's Melon

                 I'm a huge fan of Ravi Subramanian.Frankly speaking,he is one of the most genuine thriller writers(English) India has ever produced.I have had the opportunity to read and review quite a number of desi thrillers by first time authors in the recent past and surprisingly found most of them to be pretty mediocre.So, when this new corporate thriller by R.V.Raman came up for review, I was not very excited initially .The book not only sounded but also looked pretty much similar to a 'Ravi Subramanian' thriller(for a fleeting moment,I even thought this new book was a knock-off of Subramanian's highly successful 'Bankster'!). But now,after reading this 280+ pages long thriller,I can confidently say that 'Fraudster' is no run-of-the-mill stuff and R.V.Raman is here to stay. 

              The book opens with the mysterious death of a young banker(Shruti),soon after she is  terminated from her job for no fault of hers.Somewhere in South Bombay another death happens,this time the victim is a high profile doyen (Mr Visht) of Corporate India.What makes the death significant is that Mr Visht was a member of the committe (which was investigating a high profile financial fraud) before which Shruti had deposed just before her demise.Enter Inspector Ranade,the maverick Police Officer who is in-charge of the case and joining him in his mission to find the truth are Kamini(Visht's daughter),Varsha-an energetic executive of a global auditing firm and her friends,Kunal and co.What ensues is a fast paced ride with twists and turns happening at the most unexpected plot points.   

              The writing style is reminiscent of Ravi Subramanian but I must confess that R.V.Raman has tried his best not to copy the former consciously at any point of time.The English is pretty simple with the technical facts explained in a simple and lucid manner without weighing down the reader with heavy duty jargons.Raman's writing is devoid of the the faintest trace of literary pretentions; at the same time the suspense is well maintained throughout.The pace doesn't slacken a bit and the moment you feel the tempo is going a bit downhill,comes a totally unexpected twist! Raman is undoubtedly an author who knows the pulse of his reader.

What I liked the most about this book-
  • The writing style
  • The unexpected twists and turns
  • The racy narrative
What I didn't like-
  • The Title and the Cover design (The reason,I think I have already mentioned in the first part of this post)

Verdict:On the whole,Fraudster is a paisavasool thriller.Buy it,you won't regret your decision! Rating-4/5


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