Re­view: The Case of The Missing Men

by Kris Bertin and Alexan­der Forbes (Co­nun­drum)

The Coast - - ARTS -

The

Case of the Missing Men is an old-fash­ioned mys­tery in the vein of teen de­tec­tive se­ries like The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. The book is seeped in nostal­gia for the campy teen thrillers, but its so­phis­ti­cated story and il­lus­tra­tions be­lie the sim­ple plea­sure of its premise.

The book was cre­ated by real-life pals Kris Bertin—au­thor of the ex­cel­lent short story col­lec­tion Bad Things Hap­pen— and Alexan­der Forbes, a visual artist and grad­u­ate of NSCAD. It fol­lows the story of the in­trepid mem­bers of The Teen De­tec­tive Club, who solve mys­ter­ies in their small ru­ral Nova Sco­tia town. It’s 1996 and Hobtown (pop­u­la­tion 2,006) has seen a string of missing men. When a new kid’s fa­ther disappears, he en­lists the help of the de­tec­tive squad to track him down. To­gether, they get into trou­ble un­cov­er­ing the creepy and su­per­nat­u­ral un­der­belly of their sleepy lit­tle town.

The Case of the Missing Men is truly a page­turner, with metic­u­lous black-and-white line draw­ings that are in­cred­i­bly nu­anced and deft at cre­at­ing sus­pense. A word­less page of il­lus­trated pan­els can il­licit as much dread as any big screen hor­ror movie, and the pay­off is much sub­tler. The world cre­ated in th­ese pages is done so with such care and pre­ci­sion, pre­sent­ing a deeply un­nerv­ing vibe, per­fect for the Hal­loween sea­son. Here’s hop­ing more col­lab­o­ra­tions lie ahead for Bertin and Forbes.

—Michael Lake

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