Ravi Subramanian’s Bankerupt is true to the writer’s characteristic genre of “thriller-banking fiction”

A thrilling culmination to plots set in different parts of the world — this is the subject of banker-cum-author Ravi Subramanian’s sixth novel Bankerupt, launched in the city recently.

An academician married to an investment banker, an Indian entrepreneur wanting to make it big, and a tussle for power among the academia in the U.S. — all this leads to a murder. Set against the backdrop of the U.S. elections and intense battle on gun rights, Bankerupt is a story where everyone has a motive to kill. “It’s intentionally spelt with an ‘e’ because it is a story of an out-of-work banker who joins his wife at MIT in Boston in an attempt to salvage his marriage. But, he finds that MIT is a simmering volcano, waiting to erupt. In a turn of events, the banker finds himself accused of murder and the only way he can acquit himself is to find the real culprits,” says the author. “The title is ideal given that it’s about a banker who gets caught in an unpleasant situation at MIT, the pinnacle of academia.”

Like his previous books, this one too brings out Ravi’s characteristic genre — thriller–cum-banking fiction. “People think of bankers as either money-spinning dealmakers who occupy the business class seats on every flight or those who perform routine clerical jobs. Both these perceptions are untrue,” says Ravi, going on to explain that bankers are ordinary human beings. “That apart, banking has all the ingredients to make an absorbing pot-boiler: money, people, relationships, fraud and crime. The industry is a thriller writer’s delight. I have worked for almost two decades in it, watching it from close quarters. Hence, banking and related stories come naturally to me,” he says.

The book was inspired by a conversation Ravi had with an MIT professor. “Once the backdrop was clear, it took me nine months to write the story,” he says. “The biggest challenge I faced, which eventually turned out to be my strength, is to present complex banking scams and rip-offs in simple language. To make sure I achieve this with every book I write, I get the manuscript read by a few non-bankers and make sure they understand the plot. Only after this, do I submit it to the publisher.”

Ravi feels his books have helped break stereotypes about bankers. “My stories showed that bankers are also human. They have desires, aspirations and needs, and experience success and failure. They make mistakes — pretty much like everyone else,” he explains. He hopes to explore newer genres of writing soon. “In Bankerupt, I explore the world of academia and the Second Amendment controversy (the gun rights vs. gun control debate) in the U.S. I had to spend a fair amount of time on research on diverse topics and enjoyed it. I would like to attempt writing stories in new settings.” Why are all his books thrillers? “A murder in the first few pages is a sure-shot way of grabbing the reader’s attention.