'From Man to Maneater' reads like a Hollywood film script with twists and turns galore. In fact the start is so racy that you wonder how the author will sustain that pace and drama throughout the book, but he does a good job of it, and takes the readers through an entertaining journey full of dramatic elements. It's the filminess of the book that stands out and one could pretty much read it like one is reading a racy action movie script. It helps that Sumanth's writing style is vivid and one can visualize each scene as it plays out.
So we take off with a bang in the Himalayas where a 500 year old sage inhabits a cave. He has answers to everything one would think. As the book starts, he has visitors, one among them being the 'Maneater', a fugitive from justice and a professional hit man. But the Maneater was not always a killer, he had a past until circumstances forced him into the life he now has to lead. Perhaps he wanted to find answers to why fate dealt him an unfair hand.
Hot on the Maneater's heels are a Russian oil baron who suffered huge losses thanks to the Maneater's work on his pipeline. The Russian baron wants revenge - and personally. One other angle that's converging on the cave is a tough cop Prithviraj Chavan who is also on the Maneater's trail. The Russian baron has a local businessman helping him, who happens to be Prithiviraj's estranged father. One little something more, the Maneater and Prithviraj look alike. The stage is now set.
The midnight visit to the cave starts and ends in disaster as the Maneater loses his trusted aides in a landslide in no time. He is trapped inside with the silent sage. While the Russians and the police are closing in, the Maneater revisits his life as Vishvamitra, a successful software professional with a wife and two kids, a good life in the USA and his quest for love. In a turn of events Vishvamitra becomes a fugitive from law and his life turns topsy turvy. While in hiding he realises that a terror strike blew up the plane his family was travelling. There is one person responsible for Vishvamitra's life to turn upside down - the power hungry, greedy, young minister Amresh Thakur.
You'd think you have seen it all but Sumanth surprises you with his twists. There is violence in plenty, guns and molls, love and sex, betrayal and loyalty, greed and revenge and then some more. For a first book its packed with lots of thought and detail. For sheer entertainment quotient 'From Man to Maneater' stands out like a commercial potboiler in the James Bond mould. Only here we follow the Maneater's life and not the cop. Lots of research, convincing characters, a well thought out and racy plot, filmy masala and a writing style that keeps it all together.work for Sumanth and 'From Man to Maneater'. What impressed me about Sumanth was the attention to detail, the scale (it will be an expensive movie if it is made), the meticulousness with which he organised his plot. I also liked the fact that he did not shy away from violence, in fact he is too trigger happy and ends up with some fifty dead bodies (or rather 250 if one takes the air crash into account), and also liked the fact that he did not shy away from the bold sex scenes, including a gay encounter. Like they say, all angles covered, all boxes ticked. There's something for everyone.
'From Man to Maneater' is one of the better first time books I have read. I somehow wish the title was something else - the book deserves a better title. But I am nitpicking and all in all, Sumanth can take a bow for putting his heart and soul into the book and holding nothing back. It's an honest effort and it shows. There are few who write such stories in India so Sumanth is in a good space. It is obvious that he will only get better as he writes more books. Well done Sumanth and wishing you many more wonderful books to come by in the future.