Ravi Subramanian is the author for best-selling thrillers and he has not disappointed his fans. God is a gamer is an absolute page turner guaranteed to keep you engrossed and on your toes all through till the end. It has a whole range of everything…… terrorist attacks, murders, suicides, hit-and-runs, espionage, ATM heist, cyber crimes, online phishing, money laundering, illegal sites, online crimes, politician and underworld nexus etc. This is my second Ravi Subramanian book so when I started the book I knew what to expect and I was not disappointed. I read the book cover to cover non-stop in 7 hours……
The book takes you to the fascinating world of Bitcoins for use as alternative currency for online transactions. What follows is an interwoven series of events spanning across New York, Washington DC, Mumbai, Goa etc. The book starts with the assassination of US senator and close aide to the US President, Gillian Tan in Washington DC, on his way to a meeting with the US President for the use of Bitcoins as a legal form of currency. A phishing scandal in New York International Bank in Mumbai has disturbed the peace of the banking world and has put the job of Swami, head of retail banking on line. Meanwhile Josh Connelly in New York is preparing for a major ATM heist using the TOR browser and making online transactions on “Cotton Trail”, a website for all illegal activities like narcotics, prostitution, banned substance even paedophillia which is accessible only through TOR and making payments for all of these via Bitcoins.
The book is about Aditya and Sundeep…… mentor and close friends of Swami who are floundering with their gaming business. The death of a top banker and aspirant for the post of RBI governor Malvika puts the whole plot in a frenzy with the CBI and FBI joining hands to solve the various interconnected crimes. The job of solving all this falls on the FBI officer Adrian, Tony and Dan and CBI officer Kabir.
The story also revolves around Varun and Tanya. Their love and romance puts the story in a lighter note. While Varun helps his father Aditya’s floundering gaming business to get back into track, Tanya tries to come to terms with the mystery surrounding the death of her mother Malvika and suspects the finance minister’s hand in her death.
The book is beautifully interwoven with lots of twists and turns in the plot. I was very fascinated with the whole bitcoin theory….. the first I heard of it….. also using the concept of downloading Bot malware while updating the gaming programs into the plot was a genius. Gillian Tan’s wife Nikki, daughter Gloria and White house head of staff Mike Hendricks keep the plot twisted and confused. The thriller ends with the hooker’s blog connecting all the dots to complete the picture. I kept wondering about the tag line “Is revenge a crime”…….. I understood it only after I finished the epilogue.
What I liked about the book was the pace in which it moved. It kept me glued to the book asking for more. The chapters are very small so for a person with a short attention span this is god-send. I was totally flummoxed reading the epilogue. It turned the story round totally and gave the whole book a totally different angle. The book is very informative….. I had no idea of the .onion pseudo domain host sites that can be accessed only through TOR browsers. Using hotel key cards for an ATM heist and hacking into the bank servers to increase the withdrawal limits made me realise we are totally not safe at all times and that cyber crimes have reached our door steps….. we better wake up and take note. All in all I was transported to a whole new online world of cyber crimes which I had no idea about. It was an absolute revelation. My knowledge barely covered phishing and hacking….. The events took the concept of cyber crimes to a whole new level.
The cover of the book has the white house in the background and the Bitcoin logo. The pictorial depiction of the black clouds moving towards the White House in view of a whole new kind of sophisticated criminal genre in the form of Bitcoins being used to finance crime is a new challenge for the whole world and therefore very apt for the theme of the book.
What I didn’t like about the book were the number of characters in the book that kept increasing with every chapter and often I lost track of them…… some of them were totally unnecessary. The book moved too fast from Washington DC to New York to Mumbai to Goa and back so I wasn’t really able to connect to the characters or empathise with them. The prologue was absolutely unnecessary and was not part or in any way connected to the main plot. Some of the events in the book were totally not necessary. The dramatic end where the FBI and CBI are revealing the killer reminded me of CID’s ACP Pradyuman and Salunkhe and I kept waiting for Daya or Abhijeet (Shome) to do some door breaking 😀 (LOL ).
The book is a gripping thriller and absolute value for money. Must read for all!!!
Thank you Blogadda for the autographed copy of the book it was an excellent read.
I received this book as part of the BlogAdda Book review program. This book is a culmination of two great minds. Our very own Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson of the Private series fame. It’s an absolute page turner thriller and promises to have you glued asking for more. The collaboration has the protagonists of both the authors coming together to solve this absolute interesting maze of events.
A series of serial killing rocks the city of Mumbai. The women murdered are strangulated with a yellow scarf. The murdered victims are the movers and shakers of Mumbai. They belong to different walks of life ranging from a doctor, to a journalist, to a singer, a politician, a principal, a judge, an actress……. with nothing in common among them on the face of it. The only common factors are the yellow scarf used for killing the victims and a series of trinkets placed around them. What ensues is a chase with a body found at every corner. The story is also of the troubled head of Private India, Santosh Wagh who lost his family in an accident. He is entrusted with the investigation of the serial murders. He and his team of investigators Nisha, Mubeen and Hari Padhi look for clues only to reach a dead-end at every corner. The entry of Jack Morgan fastens the pace of the investigation with all fingers pointing to the Attorney General who is embroiled in the killings at every stage.
Sanghi’s penchant for mythology comes through with the interesting trivia about the thuggee cult and the navratri festival, making Goddess Durga an important part of the story. Mumbai is the central theme where the book is based. So the author takes you everywhere from Malabar hill to cuffe parade to Mira Road. The book has a little of everything criminal in Mumbai…….. the nexus between the police officer Rupesh and the underworld don Munna and Godman Nimboo baba, the corruption between the politicians and the judiciary, the betting racket angle, the bollywood angle, the maimed child beggar angle, child abuse, prostitution and political nexus and of course the terrorism angle……. just about everything criminal in Mumbai.
The cover of the book has this lovely picture of the gateway and the Taj hotel together in one frame, taken in magic hour. I particularly loved that shot also the pic of the bandra sea link at night is beautiful and it does show the Indian connection to the Private series…… very apt.
What I loved about the book was the small chapters. It kept me glued without letting me lose focus of the plot. Also the pace at which the book moved was fast enough to not let me lose the plot. Mumbai being one of my favorite cities and having lived there for a decade, I identified with the plot and the investigators. The trivia about the thuggee cult was totally new to me. Also the trivia about the various sects in India who were listed by the British as the killers was something I had never heard of. Being a Bengali, Durga and navratri are my favorite festivals so the significance of the nine avatars of Durga used in the book in this manner was well imbibed and a revelation. This is the first time that i have read Hindu mythology being used in a thriller in this way.
What I didn’t think necessary in the book was the terrorism angle…….. the Indian Mujahideen angle and the Pakistan and ISI angle could have been avoided as it did not contribute to the main plot in any way. The Nimboo Baba character was also unnecessary. The book was long winding and some of the details regarding the Mumbai serial bomb blasts was totally unnecessary though I must say that it is the first time that the serial blasts in the Mumbai locals has been highlighted. Usually it is only the Taj attack that people talk about.
All in all the book is a great read and value for money.
I want to thank BlogAdda for the excellent read…… it was wonderful!!!