The Hunt For Kohinoor By Manreet Sodhi Someshwar – A Book Review

Suspense thrillers based on historical theories and conspiracies seem to have become the norm these days. Buoyed by what I call the “Dan Brown” effect, a whole new lot of authors have emerged who practically follow the same plot- There’s a time linked crisis to be solved, the protagonists face either a rogue agency or a legitimate agency running after them, and all this time, the protagonists ( mostly an art expert or historian) are required to solve some ancient mystery or a puzzle based on the same, to save the planet from its inevitable doom. This book is somehow both, a run-of-the-mill abstract of the same concept, but interesting at the same time.
This 425 paged novel is Manreet’s fourth book and second in the Mehrunisa Khosa series. The first part, The Taj Conspiracy, was critically acclaimed. Unfortunately I didn’t review it or read it but yes, they were pretty good (from what I could gather from the opinion of the people whom I know who have read it). The basic story is that Manreet creates an interesting character who is an art and history expert who ends up helping Indian intelligence agencies crack codes which are based on historic puzzles or facts.
The Hunt For Kohinoor revolves around an impending terrorist attack in India within a timeline of 96 hours. Mehrunisa is reconciled with her long lost, assumed dead father Harry Khosa aka The Snow Leopard, a legendary spy in the Indo-Af-Pak region. The plans are hidden away and are addressed as the Kohinoor as Mehr struggles to search for it and find it.
I won’t give away the plot though I’ll tell you the small little things whose presence or lack thereof disappointed me slightly. The narration, although vivid, sounds bland and forced. To put it in other words, for a thriller-suspense based on a deadline of 96 hours, I could not experience the urgency or the building tempo in the book. Another factor that ticked me off was that the book had an idealistic tone for a major part of the narration, which just doesn’t add up to plot which is near reality.
To sum it up, yes there are some narration issues with the book, but overall, it’s a decent read. From what I have heard, narration is Manreet’s forte so I would definitely try and check out her other books. I would recommend this book for first time readers or people looking to foray into the world of reading or for someone who wishes for a fusion of Dan Brown, Steve Berry, Mathew Reily and the mysterious, affable subcontinent of India.
Like: Good basic plot, Brilliant mixing of fiction, myth, history and logic
Dislike:  Idealistic, Style of narration
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The Bankster By Ravi Subramanian-A Review

Intricate detailing is what makes a thriller what it is. The Bankster is beyond the usual suspense thriller. Veering with multiple scenarios playing at our simultaneously, it makes for a fabulous read, especially in India’s emerging culture which is exponentially rising into the corporate lifestyle. The subtle, yet commonly gossiped about fact that powerful corporate houses run the nation is well weaved into the plot as Mr. Subramanian takes you on a simple, yet enthralling ride

This 358 paged novel is Ravi’s fifth novel with the banking world as its set (however, I confess to not having read the other four before). But, with all honesty, I regret not having read them as this book was simply wonderful. Dealing with three different parallels at the same time, Subramanian slowly unravels a web of mystery linking a covert CIA agent, an anti-nuclear power plant protest in India and a series of death of a certain bank’s employees. Most authors writing thrillers fail to clearly link these sets in a convincing manner, often disappointing readers. However, The Bankster pretty much clearly exhibits the links and demonstrates their entanglement.

The nucleus of this book is its radical, coherent yet brutally simple analogy to different current situations. Ravi brilliantly has drawn some of the world’s most familiar happenings into an elaborate piece of fiction to expound some thoughts which gets you thinking. The familiarity between the Kundankulam nuclear power plant protests and the fictitious protests in the book is point blank and obvious but does explore a delicate side of the world of International relations by sly hints. Also, by dumbing down complex banking strategies and terms, Ravi has eased the burden on a common reader. This is a problem rarely addressed by authors and often becomes a stigma. I quote one of my friends who supposedly read Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code with one eye on the book and the other on the Google search results of the various terms thrown at her. At face value, The Bankster is both easy on your mind as well as Internet bills.

Moving on to the book’s Achilles’ heel, we arrive at something which is debatable Although the book slowly lays out the detailed plot and the mystery breaks free perfectly with logical arguments, the method, to me was a bit unrealistic. To me, a media personnel deciphering extravagant clues and connecting the dots, that too within a fixed time period of 48 hours is a bit tough to accept. Although Ravi seeks to augment this fact by detailing Karan (the media guy)’s character with investigative training and a natural flair for deciphering cases, it still remains tough to accept. Another counter to this can be Karan’s support team consisting of some trusted colleagues and his girlfriend, I would like to iterate that their contribution pales in comparison to Karan’s as he clearly steals the limelight.

Overall, this book is a masterpiece and simply un-putdown-able. Ravi draws you into the world of GB2 and controls your emotions like a puppet master. When I picked up the book, the first thing that leaped out was a line out of the Wall Street Journal saying “Meet the John Grisham of banking”. Suffice to say, I second it.

The Standing Coin Rating: 7.5/10

Like: Easy to read, Draws the reader’s attention into a detailed world, Radical new theories

Dislike: Single character essaying the role of a super intelligent hero comes across as unrealistic

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