Book review: The Case of the Missing Men

Kris Bertin and Alexander Forbes’ old-fashioned mystery mash-up is a carefully crafted page-turner.

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 page-turner, 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.

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