Content Warnings: Death, violence, suicide, and child abuse.
“Bias prevents you from seeing the world as it truly is… due to the self-imposed fog clouding your view.”
Manner of Death is the way to categorize death. The classifications can be accidental, natural, undetermined, suicide or homicide. This story follows Dr. Bunnakit, a coroner called to examine the body of a woman after her “suicide.” He soon determines that her manner of death points to murder. That night, as he writes the post-mortem certificate, he is threatened by a stranger to rule her death as a suicide. Even though he’s told not to report it to the police, Dr. Bunnakit confides in his prosecutor friend about the incident. However, after his friend suddenly goes missing, Dr. Bun is determined to solve the mystery, even if it means teaming up with his prime suspect, Tan.
Manner of Death is a manga adaptation by Yukari Umemoto published by Yen Press. The original story is written by Thai author, Sammon. Sammon’s novel has also been adapted into a successful Thai TV drama series.
Our main character, Dr. Bun, holds the interesting title of coroner. As someone who enjoys True Crime television, I enjoyed reading Bun’s perspective of examining a corpse. “The corpses are speaking to us.” He believes corpses convey meaning through their bodies, and he sought the challenge of understanding that meaning through every bruise, scratch, and sign of struggle. This tells me he operates by facts. However, what I found interesting was how he narrowed down a suspect by mere intuition.
At first, I thought it was inconsistent and out-of-character, especially after stating in the beginning that biases cloud your vision. Then I realized that perhaps that quote is simply a lesson he learned after the whole ordeal—kind of like indirect foreshadowing. And as I kept reading, the more sense that made.
Another thing I also enjoyed was the setting. I wasn’t familiar with the original story, so when I read that it took place in Thailand, I was immediately excited to explore how the setting could potentially affect the story. It was refreshing.
I like a romance that takes its time to develop—not necessarily a slow-burn, but at a realistic pace. In Manner of Death, the romance felt rushed. I was actually expecting it to blossom by the second volume. This first volume introduces the love interest as someone Bun highly suspects of the crime. Even when Bun has no choice but to work with the suspect, he is still extremely distrusting and wary. Instead of exploring that dynamic, the narrative feels a little too desperate to jump into the steamy bits. It just didn’t feel like good continuity.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for the idea of falling in love with the suspect. The thrill of the mystery, the forbidden fruit trope; I eat it all up. However, that’s more of a reason to keep readers on their toes! Is he good? Is he lying? What is he hiding?
Both Bun and his love interest have so much potential to take us on a turbulent journey with their romance. I just wish the pace would have kept a natural flow. It would have been more satisfying to look forward to how they’d open up to each other.
Even though there were some unsatisfying areas in the narrative, I’m still interested in seeing how things will develop in the next volume. The end of this volume introduced a new character that will potentially raise the stakes in the story. And despite having a rushed romantic affair, I’m still hopeful it will be challenged. There are a few things left unanswered regarding the crime, but that will make a great opportunity to expand on the love interest and other characters involved. I have a feeling there will be more to investigate in the next volume, and hopefully, new cases to solve!
Make sure to get your copy of Manner of Death on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Right Stuf, and Bookshop (purchase supports local shops)!
Manner of Death Credits
Original Story by: Sammon
Art by: Yukari Umemoto
Translated by: Emma Schumacker
Letterings by: DK
Publisher: Yen Press
A special thank you to Yen Press for allowing us the opportunity to review this title! Receiving a review copy has in no way altered the opinions expressed in this article.
- Crime and mystery.
- Suspect is the romantic interest.
- Rushed pacing.
- Somewhat predictable.
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