Book Review: Scammed: Confessions Of A Confused Accountant

A book by an Anonymous writer, with a title such as "Scammed - Confessions Of A Confused Accountant" - is a book most of us would be attracted to, given the spate of revelations that has kept the media busy and working overtime! It also conjures up images of numbers, balance-sheets, convoluted cross-holdings and such like, given the word "accountant" in the title. So it was that I picked this book with a combination of eagerness and doubt - I was frankly in two minds, more so since the previous two books (Akbar and Tamasha) were fabulous - and I didn't want to break the run! But I was in for a pleasant surprise, as the book exceeded expectations, turning out to be refreshing light and quick read!

Your first impression on picking up the book is the slick binding and superb cover - sleek elegant and stylish. Rarely have I seen a book that is so stylish. The binding is excellent but firm, and the font used is simple and very easy to read. All in all, it is a stylishly finished classy product. This does deserve special mention - and the publishers (Grey Oak Publishers) have really done a great job. It will stand out among its peers in a book stall, that is for sure

The Main Characters
Hitesh Patel - Not as confused as he is claimed to, or seems to be!
Payal - Surprise Package!
Sushma - An Attractive Package!
Venugopal Reddy - Wants to make a killing!
Varun Rao - "Capable" Head of marketing of Super Cabs, if you get my drift!
Saahil - Rises fast up the corporate ladder - using a rope (or anything else he can) to move up!
Mr & Mrs Patel - Want their son to succeed, period!

These are supported by a variety of supporting staff - GS Rao, Mehta, RV Suresh, Mohan Babu - the evil villains from Supreme Motors; Mahinder, Sohail, Rajesh: Die-Hard supporters of our anti-hero

The character of Hitesh Patel takes shape very early in the story, and is exceedingly well defined and well developed. He comes across as someone you can identify with - a capable person, not promoted in his career, with a yearning for the high life; a person with a relatively weak will combined with a sharp intellect - thus susceptible to pulls and pressures. A person who thinks, nay knows that he is as good as his boss and wants to prove himself to himself, and to his family. This character-sketch is further buttressed by his family, who constantly nag and needle him as to his career. It is noteworthy how the supportive cast- his parents and colleagues and acquaintances have been used to develop his character. This is central to the story - for this explains Hitesh's character, his willing collusion in some matters and the compromises he agrees to make for success

Payal, on the other hand, stays largely in the background and grows slowly in stature; she comes across as a solid dependable person that everyone would like. Payal warms your heart, and you feel for fer...  Then there is Varun Rao - rough, can and will use any trick in the book, a maverick person utterly without scruples; Venugopal Reddy - wants to exit both Super Cabs and Supreme Motors and make a killing in the process - and never mind about bulls & bears & sebi & sensex & legalities, thank you very much; These are the 4 principal characters around whom this book revolves, and who shape the story

I have just one grouse here: while Hitesh, Varun & Reddy have been well developed, Payal and Mahinder have been left underdeveloped. I personally felt that the Author could have developed Payal a little more - this would have added a lot more substance to the story, while not taking away from the pace too much. 

The Plot
This story is about a bitter young accountant working as an auditor in an audit firm. The start of the story - with the annual performance appraisal coming up; Hitesh expecting a promotion - only to find someone else with contacts has made it - captures your attention. To the credit of the Author, once the guy has your attention -he keeps you riveted to the story, which takes a rapid and racy pace from that point forward. To cut a long story short, it is a page turner! In this phase it has everything that will grab your attention - the fast-thinking and street smart "friend" who does any- and every- thing to become your boss; office politics et al. This sets the background for the story, as well as defines Hitesh and his character. 

Hitesh comes across a fleece operation in a company - the failing Supreme Motors wherein 4 "gentlemen" are taking the company for a royal ride. In highlighting this to the management, he puts in an idea of a Cab Service. Supreme Motors, with outdated models, could supply cars to the Cab Service, which would create a market for the Auto Maker. This idea is liked by the management, who see in it a chance to push up the stock prices and thus make a killing. Hitesh is taken on as CEO to run this "operation", and driven to scale up very fast. The fast scaling up is critical to generate orders for the Auto Maker, improving its order book and this its market prospects. 

Thing go wrong since the 4 villains in the piece -a few of whom having lost their jobs and their ill-gotten gains as well, the rest smarting from the insult, are forgotten. One of those who retains his job is on the staff of the new Cab Service, and in an increasingly stronger position - being the marketing head, and responsible for all the lovely orders that Supreme Motors need. He seems to have it made - but they (the villainous 2)  are, however, waiting for a chance to strike back.... and when it comes, they strike back - bringing the house of cards crashing down!  The rest of the story deals with how Hitesh loses everything - and is indeed faced with arrest. Does he strike back? Or does he go scot-free, especially since he is also responsible for the scam, having turned a blind eye to many irritants and outright violations? Read the book for that!

At times, you do get a feel of the plot being a bit far-fetched: would the normal auditor have thought up a business plan - especially an auditor who is under extreme pressure not to investigate the company too much? A man who is under deadline pressure and working a tight schedule? Would an accountant have the knowledge to not only dream up an Idea, but also implement it in today's competitive market, attending to franchise issues, talking with franchise, making advertising suggestions and plans? Or would the villainous 4 have been able to pull off the audacious fleece operation at Supreme Motors? But again, such is the pace that these doubts vanish almost as soon as they arise!

The Analysis
As you turn the last page, you get a sense of satisfaction at a logical ending. A split second later, Mr Brain - the soft gentlemen who resides in your upper story - kicks in with a different assessment; the Author could have fleshed out the story a little more by developing Payal, by giving a few more details about the scam-in-the-making, about making the transition from accountant to CEO more believable, about the inter-relationships. Still, you decide that you have had a great time, and shrug Mr Brain off - for realistically, had the Author fleshed out the story, he would have had to compromise on the pace of the story. The objective was to tell a racy, fast-paced story and going into relationships or gory scam details would decidedly have slackened the pace. Best of all, the book does not give you the time to make any value judgements about the actions of the central character in the story - before you get to judgements, the story ends "almost" logically. (Shant spoil the "almost" with an explanation: find out in the book!)

All in all, a good book that you can finish off in a couple of hours on a Sunday or on a journey!

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!


  1. Hi Vishal, thanks for the review. Much appreciate your sincere views, and I must say you're spot on when you write about the intent, narrative and the characters of this book. Its among the most well written reviews I've read. Glad you enjoyed reading it. - Ahmed (not Anonymous anymore :))

    1. Thanks Faiyaz... It is a pleasure to see you on my blog. It is an even greater pleasure to receive your comments on my take on your book...

      Thanks for the visit... looking forward to your next

  2. Thanks Aditya...

    Glad you liked my thoughts

  3. Pls read my blog if u find time sir.....

  4. yes, i completely agree with the same about the review, But at one point i felt disappointed that how a auditor of a audit firm can run that big business with just a small idea for which he was offered job... And How one person can own that many things and can have lifestyle like celebrities with just high income from last 6 months, It was pretty unrealistic .. any ways good timepass book

    1. Yup. That bit about the auditor becoming CEO was a little far-fetched...

  5. But Vishal... Anything is possible...
    These days nothing is predictable...
    If you think that way, the book is indeed a convincing tale...

    I loved the book too and a great review here...


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